The myth of Ste Maxence recounts how this 5th century Scottish princess flees her engagement to the pagan prince Avicin, crosses the English Channel and arrives in Gaul, where she fords the river Oise by throwing three stones into the water to make a bridge. Her suitor catches up with her and decapitates her.
Maxence rises from the ground and carries her own head to a burial place which will become the present town of Pont Sainte-Maxence.
The inspiration for my residency was to mix elements of this story with my own memory and with my own experience of the Chateau de Sacy.
In our imaginary world, attics are often places where ghosts are to be found, along with discarded furniture, dust mixed with seeds, the past with the future. An attic space conjures up a theatre or church, or even an upside down boat, such as the one Maxence used for her voyage from one reality to another.
This is the space in which I chose to work and exhibit.
Looking for something to paint on, I found some left over materials from the chateau’s attic, mattress ticking, old curtains and nightgowns, worn out things with patterns and holes in them, which I mounted on frames.
Birds and flowers, signs and symbols were allowed to accumulate on the canvas, as if they were only dust and seeds, blown in from the garden. The idea was to take advantage of the pattern of the materials, contradicting or repeating them, crystallising them as fragments of time. Odd elements were gathered in a zigzag rhythm of sense and nonsense, to call upon ghosts, reveal structures, and be at the edge of the abstract.
The flags or coats-of-arms lead back to the Middle-Ages, offering visual access to lines of descent. Ancient materials were stitched and patched together with others from Creil market , in order to synthesize periods and cultures, to seduce the eye by opening the curtains of a window on somewhere far away.
Branches were arranged in a cross to suggest a fireplace or hearth, or the interlacing of languages,
words woven in an embrace.
To mix things with symbols , weaving together periods. To throw stones in a river was to create a bridge.
Translation: Hugo Williams