BucharestOlivia Mihălțianu: Cette histoire n'est pas fantastique
Olivia Mihălțianu focuses on the analogy between grafting and splicing, drawing a parallel between plant manipulation and film editing, both based on physically joining two materials. Experimenting with different photographic and video techniques, the artist worked with the surrounding gardens of Frac des Pays De La Loire in relation to the mysticism related to the history of Brittany and Transylvania, reflected in the quotes she uses from Jules Verne’s Le château des Carpathes, where art, science and superstitions intertwine.
The installation Cette histoire n’est pas fantastique takes as a starting point the ancient grafting strategy associated with the most basic photographic technique, the cyanotype. Cutting the rolls of 35 mm films in order to produce text imprints on fabric, the artist also twists the purpose of the film medium, turning it into letters of Jules Verne’s text. The cyanotypes are used as walls surrounding the projection space and creating a dialogue between the subject of the video and the images developed through the photographic printing process of cyanotype.
The first uses of cyanotype were in fact documenting plant’s specimens and are the consequence of a direct contact, a trace of an object that had a physical presence on the receptive surface. The video projected in the space carefully documents the process of film projection – the way an image becomes real with the help of an apparatus –, the eucalyptus trees and their variations, and the natural process of inosculation – branches jointly growing together after touching one another.
At the same time, photos of Olivia’s research inhabit the room, pointing towards inosculation as a natural phenomenon resembling a lot the grafting process employed by people for commercial purposes, but also sometimes as an aesthetic experiment. The newly formed tissues are based on a vascular strong connection that spontaneously occur and that is controlled and displayed by nature itself according to its inner rules.
The custom-made knife commissioned by Olivia to the artist Stoyan Dechev is placed in proximity of the projection, as a possible ambivalent instrument with multiple functions – cutting the tree branches or the film roll, or even acting as an archaic talisman, dating back to the first discoveries of grafting. The whole installation plays with duality and duplicates, as there are always mirroring images, double perspectives, two entrances, twin projections.
– Text by Diana Marincu
The artistic installation Cette histoire n’est pas fantastique was developed by Olivia Mihălțianu during her residency at FRAC des Pays de la Loire part of the XXXIIe Ateliers Internationaux titled Manufacturing nature / Naturalizing the synthetic and curated by Diana Marincu in 2018.Cette histoire n’est pas fantastique / Exhibition View at Anca Poterasu Gallery. Courtesy of the artist and Anca Poterașu Gallery, Bucharest