Through the traveling exhibition “Aurae”, Canadian artist Sabrina Ratté creates a troubled archipelago of screen-sculptures and immersive devices, staging as many compositions of mutating digital images, acting as a parade of “units of ‘ambiences’ to be physically explored. The exhibition is on until July 10 at the Gaîté Lyrique.
We knew it from the exhibition devoted to Olivier Ratsi (“Heureux Soient Les Fêlés, Car Ils Letpass La Lumière”, April-October 2021), the spaces of the Gaîté Lyrique are particularly conducive to the presentation of pieces combining metamorphic images and graphic design in a succession of projected visual landscapes where architecture and spatiality seem to define a new ambulatory approach for the viewer. For the “Aurae” exhibition, presenting eleven pieces by the Canadian artist and “image maker” Sabrina Ratté (helped by the work of scenography by designer Antonin Sorel), the latter is once again invited to visit a immersive architectures and landscapes inhabited by moving visual matter, which tactfully questions the physical separation between two realities, that of the real and the virtual.
The landscapes of Aurae – a title borrowed from one of Sabrina Ratté’s first video works in 2012, with colors washed by the sun, and the etymology of the word “aura”, which indicates a gentle wind or an atmosphere – describe the subtle balance of Sabrina Ratté’s work between poetry and science fiction. By recomposing them in installations using video projections, animations, impressions, photogrammetry, sculptures and spatial devices, Sabrina Ratté gives a new relief to her images: a singular “aura” which highlights the part of he subtle emotion of variable representations – a veritable digital vegetation, sometimes very graphic and geometric, sometimes more natural and organic – yet largely anchored, through their physical connection to so many hypnotic screens, to the current technological and audiovisual saturation.
The fusional approach of “ambient units”
In doing so, through their fusional approach between visual coldness and emotional warmth, Sabrina Ratté’s pieces act as true “ambient units”, varying according to the theme of the images. Natural landscapes are, for example, explored in a photomontage aesthetic with slow color changes. For Alpenglow , Sabrina Ratté thus designed a 3D architectural space with multiple walls of translucent glass, somewhat reminiscent of the devices of Digital Shadow, which opens onto a horizon of mountains and sea following very evolving changes of iridescent light. For Undream , evoking the work of the Italian architectural collective Superstudio, the staging of the image in the extension of a tiled promontory affixes a new perspective to the slow evolution of the grandiose landscape, particularly well underlined by the texture of the strip- its electronics (signed Roger Tellier-Craig). In Machine For Living , it is the town planning of new towns that serves as a canvas for the projection onto a staircase structure of a conveyor belt of image architectures with the most mechanical movement.
Sabrina Ratté’s taste for the transgression of organic forms manifests itself in the Floralia 3D animation series. The artist proposes a form of visual safeguarding of plants and their ecosystem: a sanitized digital conservatory where the interferences of the signal visible on the images indicate the still vivid memory of the plants. This relationship of hybridization between organic and digital is even further pushed to its limits in Aliquid . The fluid mechanics staged in this HD video seems to proceed from the slow disintegration of flowing flesh in contact with the edges of a glass architecture. A particularly destabilizing contemplation, as the digital and organic matter seems to merge in every way.
An image laboratory in raw immersion mode
However, the most impressive piece of the exhibition turns out to be the only one to really opt for confusion and a multiplication of multidirectional audiovisual flows. Installed in the dark partitioned room of the Gaîté Lyrique, Distributed Memories acts as a veritable image laboratory, bringing together ten years of formal and visual research by Sabrina Ratté in a kind of antechamber-control room, where raw immersion meets a more playful form of interactivity – with sensors and above all this buzzer allowing to reboot from a console all the decorum of projections in real time. An approach which brings a little more phantasmagorical and loose flexibility to the mutant visual universe proceeding from Sabrina Ratté’s image-spaces.