The Candian debut of Brussels-based artist Manon de Boer presented film portraits of two women recalling their formative years in Paris in the 1970s. Sylvia Kristel – Paris (2003) depicts the star of the famed soft-core Emmanuelle films reminiscing about her past. Resonating Surfaces (2005) meanwhile, creates a picture of both Paris and São Paulo through the memories of Suely Rolnik, a psychoanalyst, translator and former lover of Gilles Deleuze. Departing from traditional narrative cinema’s reliance on images of women, de Boer creates complex, poetic portraits that privilege texture and the female voice – overlapping elements that keep picture, sound and text in a state of flux. Akin to the experimental novels of Marguerite Duras, de Boer circles around her subjects but never seeks to fix them. Characters are elusive, memory is flexible and bodily experience shapes subjectivity.
The exhibition built on my curatorial research into performativity and everyday life and on the politics of female representation and self-representation, visibility and invisibility. Highlighting subjects in the act of remembering, it delved into the affective and corporeal processes of memory and commemoration.
De Boer introduced a screening of short 35mm film works awhich take musical performances and structures as their subjects: Presto, Perfect Sound, 2006, a film portrait of George van Dam playing his violin where the artist edited together multiple takes to create a perfect performance of Bartòk’s Sonata for Violin Solo Sz 117; and Two Times 4'33", 2008, which pairs two renditions of John Cage’s 4’33”, the first presented with ambient sound, the second without.