october 2008

Marcel Dinahet

In 2008, Marcel Dinahet launched Ouessant’s Artists-in-Residence programme with two video installations, respectively entitled Portraitsand Falaises. The former draws on Jean Epstein’s 1929 film Finis Terræ. Struck by the expressive faces of the actors playing the wrack pickers, the artist decided to find their descendants. Marcel Dinahet asked their sons, daughters, grand-daughter and great grand-daughter about their memories and relationship to the film before shooting their faces in close up, capturing their expressions, features and live emotions. Made solemn with motionlessness and the absence of sound, they humbly pay homage to forebears who celebrated the fishing trade on screen, before it disappeared from Ouessant.

Falaisesis a series of videos following on from the artist’s work over the last twenty years: immersing his camera under water, he creates wavering images where water, earth, and sky blend into each other. In this series, he dived off the coast of Ouessant, filming its cliffs close up so water and rock is all one can see. Shot at different times of day, at both high and low tide, the film presents these seascapes in a range of lights, colours, and shades of grey, blue, black, red, yellow, and green. Seen in this perspective, the island seems remote and hostile despite the plastic beauty of the images. The constant movement of the waves gives the impression of being swept away by the current, and the land seems impenetrable, a natural wall rising up in front of us. But then, reaching Ouessant is of course dangerous, takes time, and demands consideration for its inhabitants, traditions, and protected environment.

Celia Crétien