The gallery presents a personal exhibition of Jacqueline Mesmaeker. For her first Parisian exhibition, Jacqueline Mesmaeker is bringing back to life one of her masterpiece, Stèle 29 x 29 x 165 (1989). How to describe it ? Spectral sculpture ? An anti-monument ?
The best thing to do might be to consider its initial founding ritual. That is to say a succession of gestures around a candlestick: the mark it leaves on a long black photosensitive board, through the use of a candle following the photogram technique; its pouring into a parallelepipoid made of concrete, measuring 29 x 29 x 165cm (the artist’s height); and finally five gamma radiography of the stele thereby produced, letting the candelabra reappear. Those three steps give birth to three different objects, presented as they are for this first exhibition. But as it is often the case with Jacqueline Mesmaeker, her work is brought to life, and therefore unravels its deployment and transformation in space as in time. And at the very end of this process, the concrete stele does not exist anymore, and the photogram board is from now on covered of canvas, as embalmed.The candlestick has disappeared twice, firstly its substance, and then its body and property. However, its light remains, glorified even, taken into a recollection network of reflection and gamma rays.
Those constant turnarounds between what is visible and invisible are entirely part of Jacqueline Mesmaeker usual work pattern. Another more recent instance of this could be found in her series Ramasse-miettes (2009). Here again, the first gesture has its importance: the dance of an ancient crumb collector bargain-hunted by the artist, above a photocopier glass. Following Bruno Munari in one of his Xerografia Originale, she explores the possibilities of graphic fantasies through a reproduction device. But by doing it she gives a special place to darkness, and entrust those images with a precise aim, the same than for the Stèle scattering: the collecting of minimal marks left by light and the memory of an everyday life object threatened by oblivion.
Jacqueline Mesmaeker is born in 1929 in Uccle, lives and works at Brussel. She studied at the A.R.B.A of Brussel from 1954 to 1957 and at the E.N.S.A of La Cambre Brussel from 1974 to 1981. She got to collaborate with architecture officies (1955-1961). She practiced design and innovation for Into-France and diverse textile factories in Hainaut and Flanders (1962-1966). She taught at the Wavre School of Arts, at the Fine Arts Royal Academy of Mons, at La Cambre, and finally at l’Ecole Supérieure de Recherches Graphiques in Brussel. Moreover, she also was laureate of the EAST awards of Norwich in 1996 and got a Special Mention for Outstanding Achievement in Mixed Media at the New York International Art Competition in 1988.
Jacqueline Mesmaeker appears in many public and private collections in Belgium, among which MAC’s Grand Hornu and the MUHKA at Anvers. An exhibition of her work will also be organised in La Verrière – Fondation Hermès, from February 1st to March 30th 2019, in Brussel.Jacqueline Mesmaeker. Romasse Miettes. 29,5 x 21,5 cm