On the occasion of the series Work in progress (everyday) broadcast in January 2021, Marie Havel looks back on her work and the project she worked on during her residency at the Cité internationale des arts. Reading to accompany with the visuals opposite.
Through various techniques and often between modeling and drawing, my work questions ruin. From its traces ingested by landscape and collective history; to the most intimate domestic environment and the rituals of play; I try to capture the moment when ruin occurs, to envisage the reactivation of ruins and the possible changes in the identity of places or landscapes; to reveal the travesty of places through memory, through individualities, through the notion perhaps of "used landscapes". I seek to point out the individual history in a more collective history and especially to consider the ruin as a possible mode of construction in its own right with its own mechanisms, as a possible evolution, an increase rather than a degradation. This work is thus about tensions, power relations, points of balance and cycles of construction/(con)struction, discoveries/overlaps; between nature and Man, adult and child, child and nature.
This approach has its source in known places and through personal experiences, my playgrounds being mainly located in the Aisne near the Chemin des Dames or on the Opal Coast strewn with remains of the Atlantic Wall. Landscapes forged, shaped, by a distant but omnipresent History of fall, ruin and devastation, which are also the support, the basis of many childhoods, games and reappropriations, constructions / reconstructions intimate and collective.
Thus, the first part of the work evokes the constituent ruin of the landscape, of architecture, of a great external common History sometimes distant; when the second suggests landscapes qualified as domestic, an intimate and interior environment, seemingly more naive and familiar, marked by winks, anecdotes and objects as singular as they are representative of a generation. If this global research, through the diversity of mediums and subjects, can then easily be divided into two quite distinct parts; it nevertheless strives by its articulation to go through the ruin and the way we see it; starting from a collective history towards a common imaginary, seeking to point out the origins of the ruin, its resurgences, its roots and their possible destinations.
It is this articulation, this connection between these two axes that I wished to question and work on in the framework of the residency of the "Daniel & Nina Carasso Foundation and Cité internationale des arts" program, to make the approach more legible by immersing myself more in the second part of the work, more recent, which echoes perfectly with a residency time and in particular in the current period, going from the outside to the inside. I entitled this project Die and Retry, a term derived from video games, designating a practice that consists first of losing/deathing in order to know the mechanisms of the game in order to then be able to come back and start again, this time successfully. A chance that video games allow, games more generally, but also a time of residence like this one; to isolate oneself for a time to better grasp the object of research, of preoccupations before coming back and starting again, after this suspended but far from vain time, like a child's hut that encloses as much as it suggests escape and evasion.
– Marie Havel
"This program was a unique opportunity to gain perspective, to reappropriate work as well as time, to have unexpected encounters and to preserve, thus allowing me to analyze and strengthen my artistic approach. These six months are already the marker of a considerable evolution in my young career, a new stage at a time when nothing suggested such an opportunity."