Marina GADONNEIX: Phénomènes

30 November 2019 - 11 January 2020 Paris / Main space

Théâtres d’opérations

Understanding for knowledge, but also understanding as a springboard from reality, to travel and dream, were two sides of the same quest: that of the sciences and photography, as soon as the latter was discovered. From Albert Londe’s photographic tableaux of waves (1893) to E.J. Marey’s series of air currents (1901), from Laure Albin Guillot’s microphotographs (1913) to Mélik Ohanian’s portraits of caesium (2015), scientists, photographers, and artists have engaged in a constant dialogue with this univeral desire to represent in order to better understand the operations of all that exists – visible or otherwise – to imagine what occurs and then disappears just as quickly. This seems to be the purpose of photography for Marina Gadonneix, who graduated from the ENSP d’Arles in 2002 and won the HSBC Prize in 2006.

A photographer passionate about the “flipsides” of photographic images, or more exactly, by their implicit and “hidden” apparatus, which invites a given representation over another, the artist presented an exhibition emblematic of her approach, Phénomènes, at the Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles. From her earliest photographic series, the artist has eluded documentary photography. Instead of photographing artworks, she shows us their invisible frameworks (bases, backing canvases, etc.) – which disappear just as soon as the “expected” photograph will be made. Inlay backgrounds from film studios become blue or green monochrome landscapes, perceptual spaces akin to the immateriality of the immersive light works of James Turrell. Materiality and immateriality, colourful lights and spectrums, but also presence and absence, reality and fiction are recurrent photographic dualities found in After the Image and that will reach their artistic maturity in the Phénomènes series; images of that which appears, but also of that which can hypnotise the gaze and sharpen the imagination, both through the incomprehension of sight and the conceivable of the unknown. Thus these latest images derived from research undertaken at scientific laboratories that reconstitute the operations of natural phenomenon become these spaces of projection, as poetic as the names of the “scientific objects” for which they represent the theatres of our imaginations… supernova, black matter, or vortex…  

Michelle DEBAT, Professeure des universités,
Responsable du Master Photographie et Art Contemporain, Université Paris 8


Marina Gadonneix was born in 1977 in Paris, where she lives and works.
A graduate of the École nationale supérieure de la photographie  d’Arles, Marina Gadonneix attempts to explore the unexpected transition from a rough territory to a fantasy image, from a form of evidence of reality to its most metaphorical mental construction. Her work has been exhibited in many institutions in Europe and the United States, particularly at the Centre Photographique d’Île-de-France, the Kunsthalle de Tübingen, or the Point du Jour, in Cherbourg, and currently within the framework of MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image at the Musée de Joliette, Canada. Her artworks recently entered the collection of the Centre Pompidou and the FRAC Normandie collection. In 2018, she won the Dummy Book Award from the Luma Foundation and the Rencontres d’Arles for Phénomènes. She thus continues her collaboration with RVB books with texts by Sally Bonn, Béatrice Gross, and Audrey Illouz.