Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Review of Stefana McClure: Science is Fiction at Bartha Contemporary

Stefana McClure: Science is Fiction
Bartha Contemporary
29 March – 11 May 2013

Advocating the belief "science is fiction," the early 20th century French marine biologist and cinema pioneer, Jean Painlevé (1902 –1989), directed over 200 science and nature films, including a number shot underwater. He has been credited with single-handedly establishing a unique kind of cinema, known as the "scientific-poetic cinema". For her current exhibition at Bartha Contemporary, Northern Irish born artist Stefana McClure, who now lives and works in New York, has captured 23 of Painlevé’s films as stills on paper, by meticulously copying the subtitles on to wax transfer paper, and mounting them, line upon line, stacked successively, until the words become obscured and the meaning hidden. At the same time, a new meaning appears: partly the original, but with the word becoming image, and the voices speaking through a new tongue. With material lost as information is added, the paper eroding, and the graphemes merging into lines of light, all that remains by the end of the transcription process is a monochrome colour surface, with two white bands across the bottom. Even without knowing how these works were made, or to what they refer, the viewer might well be inspired to think of an ocean’s waves, and the white spume on each one’s crest.


Stefana McClure
Science is FICTION
No 9 The Vampire
Wax transfer paper mounted on rag
27.8 x 32cm

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