The Great Encylcopedia of Irresolution is an infinite encyclopedia, carved out of volcanic rock. Each volume has been polished and engraved with the annotation "encyclopedia of irresolution" and a roman numeral which presupposes the uniqueness of its content. And yet, no information will filter through the thick basalt that forms those dark tomes. The books will never reveal the contained invaluable knowledge of irresolution, thus leaving a eulogy hovering over a revelation never to be made.
This film is produced in association with Marc Dorcel production. Thermal imaging cameras have been used by the army to optimize strikes called «surgical». If the technology is complex, the principle is simple: the camera records the hot spots instead of a realistic reproduction of the subject being filmed. The sensor of the thermal camera produces light images reflected by heat sources. If, for example, the camera is used to film a building inhabited by residents the camera can “see through” the building and capture the presence of bodies, revealing their location, activity, and numbers. This recording device was developed for the sole purpose of killing accurately, from a long distance, without the intervention of any human being. The technology draws from the 21st century's Cold War. Digital, automated, and controllable long distance, it makes the military relentless: more precise deaths, less uncalculated causalities. This is what the thermal technology provides.
CNRS has provided the artist Loris Gréaud with one of these thermal imaging cameras. Diverting its primary function, Loris Gréaud filmed a man and a woman having sex until orgasm. The bodies of the two professionnals seem to be floating in zero gravity, defined by their blood circulation and heat fluctuation. Connected to their sexual arousal, more light is produced as the bodies heat up. The physical space disappears to make room for the accurate reproduction, cold and military the sexual act is reduced to its reproductive potential.
The soundtrack of the film is recorded by Lee Ranaldo, legendary guitarist of Sonic Youth. Considered one of the greatest guitarists of all times, he plays a recording in the anechoic chamber of the Ircam. The main property of this space is to not produce any form of resonance but to allow registration of perfect silence. Electric guitar riffs, without boost nor power, have been recorded. The result is a series of sequences. Dry and rough, the sequences materialize as a pinching or rubbing rope, producing extreme tension when overlaid with the image.
Nothing left to falsify is the result of self-destruction on behalf of the artist. Indeed, personal copies, artist proofs and other capital are reduced to ashes. The artist proposes a non-economic gesture, which is as the heart of his practice “not saving individual ideas, forms, people, but all in a perpetual combustion”. Through this process the works also tend to accumulate power, captured in this precise moment of combustion, in a series of “batteries” that serve as food and fuel for future projects. It is both a matter of self-negation and transformation, capturing a work’s physical energy and leaving a bipolar product of combustion and electric agglomeration of carbon residues forming vast landscapes and abstract moons.
Loris Gréaud regularly visited the Pont des Arts and like a scientist extracting elements for an experiment, he systematically severed and collected the precious locks of love. The artist was trying to recover a gesture common to lovers: sealing their love with an object of resistance and protection, the padlock. The function of this object was diverted by the projections of its users who believe that this gesture is enough to make their love timeless . It is not a critical and ironic act by the artist: Loris Gréaud simply tried to find a new transfer of the poetic gesture again. He has recovered these items, melted them and reconfigured them as a sculpture. The constructive aspect of this collection of works purposely fails to mask the presence of a subjective history. It produces a connection between the unresolved emotional support of the rusted metal and the forms they convene, symbols of technological rationalism as envisaged by Tatlin.
The Obscure is a transcription of the eponymous book by Maurice Blanchot: Thomas l'obscur, into drafts of air. The work is a dyptic and the narration is transcripted as if the book was open: left page and right page at the same time. The text has been transformed into an electrical code ressembling morse code, while some blasts of wind are underlining the intensity of the reading. The variations of intensity, constantly changing, are going from a simple breath to a storm blast of current wind.
In 2010, CNRS researchers Philippe Walter and Laurence de Viguerie opened an investigation. So far, no one has ever managed to penetrate the chemical mystery involved in the effect used by Leonardo da Vinci to give such a realistic and hazy appearance to the faces he applied himself to paint. Being invaluable pieces, it is indeed impossible to take even the slightest sample from the Master’s canvases. With the support of the European Synchroton in Grenoble, the two scientists eventually found a way to bring to light the technique implemented by Leonardo da Vinci to achieve the effect which he himself named "Sfumato": a painting "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke". Taking advantage of the latest advancements in X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, they analysed one by one the 6 masterpieces from the Louvre’s collection. By studying the faces in detail, they brought out a series of extremely thin layers of glazing: a subtle combination of oil, resin, manganese oxide and an occasional hint of copper. Some areas revealed almost as many as 30 microlayers, each one being hardly 1, 2 or 3 microns thick, with an overall thickness of half a hair at most... It is through this inframince and this almost imperceptible stack that Leonardo da Vinci created the psychological dimension behind the figures who haunted his paintings. Such characters being in turns enigmatic, tragic, contemplative, smiling or rather on the verge of displaying either expression. The history of the Sfumato formula also shows that Leonardo da Vinci could spend several years painting one piece, each film of resin requiring a number of days up to a few months to dry. This may be where the evanescence displayed by his subjects originated from. Indeed, the latter, despite being frozen in time, look endlessly lascivious and hesitant. After the results of the research were published, Loris Gréaud could not resist. He seized the highly sought-after formula to produce a series of abstract paintings. Whereas resins have changed, allowing quicker catalyses, manganese oxide remains the same, still creating the same intensity. Loris Gréaud’s paintings are thus adorned with mysterious scrolls which vary if one gets closer to the piece and has one’s reflection mirrored in it. For the point is no longer to catch a faltering look and freeze it in time but to briefly reveal the image of a lingering watcher. One recalls Giorgio Vasari marvelling at Leonardo da Vincy’s ability to achieve the very darkest tones. What better experiment for an artist who has chosen black as his flag?