Waste grounds

Audrey Illouz | 2010

Props, rubbles, metal armatures, concrete: not only are those words borrowed from construction vocabulary, but they are also materials that nd favor with Perrine Lacroix’s artworks. Used to create illusions, they form Castles in the air, a series of photographs initiated in Crete in 2004 and continued in 2009 in the Cyclades and in Algeria. The artist photographies carcasses of abandoned buildings that seem to be suspended in time. These ruins from a recent past are scattered around the contemporary landscape. But no sacralization of those ruins, no new Eldena to search in the inventory of those profane housing forms. Sometimes, openings in the building allow the spectator to catch a glimpse of the azure landscape behind this visual barrier and, behind the scenes, discover the spectacle created by economic turnarounds. As Edenic as it seems, the landscape is never that attractive. Of no use, these empty structures look like sculptures anked in a scenery where grandiose sights were devastated by economic ravages.

SEMI-S, the in situ installation that Perrine Lacroix designed at the Chelles Center of Arts, also oscillates between emerging and disappearing. Paradoxically, the house model in construction seems to sink into the ground, as the openings in the doors, too small to let us in, suggest. Thanks to a simple outline drawn with concrete powder, the walls extend to the outside of the building, which evokes both excavations and a preparatory drawing for the construction of a house. Therefore, we detect in Perrine Lacroix’s artworks the coexistence of one thing and its opposite, and the recurrence of a « double » pattern, as the two artworks she realized during her residency at the Cressonières and in Chelles -a city that was about to be destroyed- in 2009 show. For MON-T, she brings a mound of earth -coming from a construction site outside the buildinginto an apartment. This mound emerges from one side and the other of the dividing wall. If Walter de Maria’s Earthworks resonate in this domestic space, transformed at the very last moment in an involuntary « white cube », the visitor is confronted to a double spatial and temporal situation, beyond its historic echoes. From the window of the apartment, he catches sight of other mounts of earth due to leveling works. The transposition of a mount of earth inside the apartment undertakes a form of displacement: it recalls a transient state and announces an imminent disappearance. In IN-T, a forest of props invades an apartment from oor to ceiling. e use of a prop in masonry is temporary. By developing its use, the artist informs of a tension, an attempt to slow down the collapsing, which in turn is imminent.

With a strategy of displacing and diverting common objects, Perrine Lacroix evokes a state of transition and suspension in time, where wasteland becomes the metaphor of this indecision between an un nished past and an uncertain future.