Ange Leccia is a major artist, one of the pioneers of video art in France. Since the early 1980s, his work has explored the human dimension through the combination of light and images.
For the MAC/VAL he has conceived a new work, a piece in which he evokes the important films in his life.
A ‘heart’ of four images beats at the centre of the space, irrigating it with colour and light. Two other images answer. This video environment, this ‘arrangement’ which has been part of his practice since the earliest days, sets up a dialogue between past works and works created today.
He creates sequences, based on different rhythms with a dynamic that creates meaning. Thus there is a meaningful interplay between the landscapes captured by the camera, the constructed moments and the captured moments. In response to the museum’s invitation, Leccia has gone back to the essence of his work: portraits, moments, adolescence – that foundational age. In effect, what Leccia does is make his subjects emerge. He films faces which, in order to become subjects, need to be watched, revisited and questioned. He sets up a singular faceto-face between the person filming and the filmed subject, in order to track the existential reality that the faces may allow to appear, behind the surface. In set-ups which are usually extremely simple, avoiding any emphasis on production values in order to be as close as possible to the subject, he records respiration, the flicker of eyelids, a throbbing vein, events that define being: accurate, precise portraits, captured, sometimes stolen, in that they grasp being as it exists beyond consciousness.
If the way of filming is always simple, the resulting image is the raw material that the artist manipulates and interprets the way a musician does with a score: he creates effects by using slow motion, sampling, repetition, colourisation and solarisation. Music is another key component in his works. More than a device, it induces a state, a particular relation between the image and the viewer. With Leccia it is never a matter of discourse and words.
The work is not exactly silent, but its language is all the more universal in that it combines images and music. The ‘exhibition-film’ created for the museum begins in 1981, when the artist appears for the first and only time: he is in the image, at the Villa Medici in Rome, and opens the window. He then becomes what he has been since, an artist who looks and captures fleeting moments in work that is hypnotic, often to the point of being vertiginous – the vertigo of awareness of time, of the instability of the world and of beings.
What runs through this installation is the breath of life itself. It can be read and felt as a personal diary, a creation that comes back to the essence of his work, to its profoundly intimate dimension, forging new passages between the real and fiction.