in Gennevilliers, the moving landscapes of Jennifer Douzenel

To like the four videos that Jennifer Douzenel has put together, you’d better be the kind that can stay for a long time with your eyes raised towards the wonderful clouds that pass or lowered towards the flow of a river or the tide: of the contemplative kind, in other words. But, in reality, what makes these works so disconcerting rarely happens: that you only half understand what you see.

Electric lights of several colors reflecting at night in parallel bands in the water which ripples, it is easy to assume that the images were taken in a port and the title specifies which, Hong Kong. A more complete title would however Monet in Hong Kong, as the allusion to the impressionist grows as one lets oneself be fascinated by these shimmers.

But the first work of the course, what does it show? The trees of a forest, strange ocher clusters hanging from the branches and dozens of dots fluttering. Birds ? Fireflies? Migrating butterflies, called monarchs, filmed in Mexico. Where most filmmakers would have yielded to the lure of the picturesque zoological documentary, Douzenel kept his distance. She doesn’t tell or explain anything, and her images are all the more suggestive. They are reminiscent of the amazement of Benjamin Péret (1899-1959) in the Amazon rainforest, a way of expressing their splendor. Péret was one of the great surrealist poets and Douzenel herself rediscovers, by new means, the poetics of the enigma specific to surrealism.

But what do we see?

The rapprochement is even more sensitive in front of Bergen. The images were taken underwater, among algae, the lens turned towards the surface and the sky. Milky at first, the water seems to clear up, and the clouds are seen better and better. Occasionally, an oblong shape crosses the image, too fast or too close to be recognized. We will not say what these living forms are. It will suffice to add that, once again, Douzenel takes great liberties with regard to cinema habits and that one remains in the work all the time – thirteen minutes -, intrigued by the imperceptible or sudden changes which affect the film. image and constantly raise the question: but what do we see?

And in the last work? Dead leaves and iris petals, which form a kind of shimmering painting in ocher and purple, abstract, from the side of Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) or Mark Rothko (1903-1970). But she moves slightly. Dark cracks open and close. A painting would not thus be threatened by chronic instability, the cause of which remains invisible.

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