07 April - 20 May 2006
Against a black background and blacked-out floor, figures dressed in black engage in collective actions, the meaning of which evades us. The scenes are disturbing, enigmatic, or absurd, as if part of a dream, yet the characters interpreting them seem unmoved; they retain the same ceremonial seriousness in each situation. The models are of all ages and the black uniformity of their sombre clothing removes all clues as to their social status. Both the setting (a black studio) and the era (with nothing to indicate the time period, and the use of black and white photography) are difficult to place. In addition to this uncertainty, there remains the fantastical dimension of what stays untold; something that precedes or follows the moment of action, something we see only a fragment of. We are given a piece of the puzzle, and it is up to us to piece the rest together: just one frame rather than the whole film, a single line lifted from a whole book. Unlike his previous works (Rugby, Pornographie ('pornography') and Actualités ('current affairs')), which were inspired by established semiologic systems, Edouard Levé turned to his own imagination to create these tableaux vivants, rather than referring to existing visuals codes. As we get closer to the meaning, so the meaning evades us, and we are given no solution to this enigma.
Translation Joanna Bleicher