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Alexandra Vassilikian

Klimmach (fr)

A little village in Bavaria,  in a wood left to its own devices, a stump.

Winter of 2001. I come closer. And now, I press myself tightly against this raised scalp, with my feet in the shadow that has been f or ever bitten into the soil by its uprooting. Its mass culminates three meters above my head, hemmed with snow. The arborescent roots have trapped a yellow, crackled up chunk of mud: it is brutal. The ochre and flesh-pink colours of the crushed wood; limestone and flint chips and flakes glitter, encased in the dense, downy rootlet fabric. All around, the snow is sprinkled with black humus: burned ivory black, pure pigment, powder. Not a sound. Then the fir treetops rustle under a sudden breeze. Fat lumps of snow fall heavily. As I stand before the entrails now brought to light, but which just a few months ago belonged to the chtonian night, I know I am standing before a secret. I am tempted to look down, out of delicacy, out of discretion; I feel like running away, lest I would be captured by this velvet tissue. For the time being, however, I remain motionless, a guilty spectator waiting for the sign. Soon, I notice the grass blades that pierce the ice, sprouting thickly and vigorously from the skin of the recumbent body, the only ones to ascend towards the sky.

2004-2005. Initially, I would go and take a glimpse of it, just to rediscover myself in its secret. Then one day, while in Paris, I drew it, just like that, from memory, starting on a piece of paper, and then adding other pieces of paper, as remembrance brought it back to me. A series of canvases resulted, all of them from memory. Up to the day when I felt the need to work on the motif itself. Then, I started going to the stump once a week, every Monday. I took a photo, printed it in black and white, and worked all week from that image; the following Monday, I went back to the stump, I took a photo precisely at the same spot of the previous week, I printed it, and started a new drawing, as if it were for the first time. Thus, a series of ten large-sized canvases were produced, at the pace of one photo and one drawing per week. Each shot seemed identical to the previous one, but as time went by, here and there, one noticed a broken root tip, a clump of soil that had subsided, or some plants that started all of a sudden growing everywhere and then vanished, just as suddenly: the stump’s slow heart beat thus became visible, through the fixed viewpoint. As for the drawings, each one of them had a life of its own – as inverted Rorschach tests; instead of my searching for the representation of reality within abstraction, reality itself was now providing me with the support for the uprising of the subconscious.

2006-2010. Time has passed and it is still there, still standing like a theatre set; though boned and reduced to a lace by the wind and stormy weather; yet its secret has been kept intact. I walk around it. I take a photo every three steps, In order to reconstitute it, later on, through a set of painted photos, and the superimposition of their retinal residuals in the viewer's eye. Just waiting ....

To be continued...