FLORENCE GOUVRIT-MONTAÑO

Resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction
Interactive video-installation, 2 channel projection.
video (13 min), closed-circuit feed.
2011

“Resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction” is a piece about loss, pain, narcissism, and relationships. Using and examining the dichotomy of presence and absence, I created a space where the viewer could feel integrated and included in my environment, and could empathize with my emotions, even though those emotions were mediated by a virtual scenario in a video-installation layout.

This piece is a stepping-stone for my practice because it is the first time that I made an artwork related to my personal experience. Until this work, my approach has been scientific, philosophical, cultural, or social, and I sought to keep my artwork free from direct references to my own life and emotions. Through the process of making this project, I learned to approach my artwork in a different way. My inquiries about philosophy are strongly present, but in this case the object of study is not abstract data, but me.

The piece is a video-installation consisting of a kitchen table with two chairs facing each other, placed in the middle of the room in front of a 20-foot-long video projection that is split in two halves. The table and chairs invite the public to sit down and participate in the installation, ideally one viewer at a time. The left half of the projection is a closed-circuit video of the viewer sitting in the chair facing the projection. The chair facing the viewer remains empty. The right half of the projection shows a prerecorded video depicting the empty chair. When a viewer sits down, he or she finds on the table a print out of a break-up letter and sees his or her own image sitting at the table in the left side of the projection. After a couple of minutes, I appear in the prerecorded video on the right side of the projection. I approach the table with the letter, sit at the table, and start reading. For about ten minutes, I sit at the table and read the letter, slowly and, seemingly, non-emotionally. Then I stand up, leaving the letter on the table, and walk away from the scene. In the scene projected on the wall, the viewer appears to be sitting at the same table as me, listening to me reading the break-up letter. So, from the perspective of the viewer, it seems as if I, the artist, have joined him at the table for the time it takes to read the letter and then left him alone again, even though he is also intensely aware of being alone, of facing an empty chair, the entire time.

Exhibited at the Urban Arts Space. Columbus, Ohio
REVIEW:
Exhibit Review | Urban Arts Space: Talented graduate students spread their wings. By Melissa Starker for The Columbus Dispatch, May 1, 2011