Pascal Broccolichi

Galerie Frédéric Giroux

Pascal Broccolichi’s works have long explored the boundaries between sound and vision. In this recent exhibition, he presented an installation that highlights sound along with four photographs (three in the exhibition space and one in the gallery office). It was at first difficult to connect these two sets of work, and the title of the exhibition, “Dispersion,” seemed to be justified by the apparent heterogeneity of its means and motifs. Sonotubes II, 2008, is an intriguing installation whose formal purity evokes minimalist sculpture as much as hi-fi equipment, industrial machinery, or spacecraft; the photographs (all Untitled, 2007) are of landscapes: deserts of stone or ice, empty expanses punctuated by the asperities of the soil, images structured only by the horizon line subtly separating the sky and earth.

But soon a resonance is established between them. Counterpoints—the dazzling whiteness of the machines in the sound installation and the gray or black masses of the photographs; the sounds (vibrations, buzzing) emitted by the tubes and the silence that seems to reign in these uninhabited regions of the globe—are transformed into echoes: The photographs were taken over the course of the artist’s wanderings, and he recorded the sounds by means of various instruments (microphone, seismograph, radio telescope, radio receiver) in the course of the same travels; just as there is nothing to see in the photographs, the sound environment is made up of imperceptible waves without instrumentation.

Although not abstract, the sounds and images refuse any reassuring narrative. While playing on absence and emptiness, and while seeming discreet, these arrangements, in fact, saturate the space. For instance, the light in the space is deliberately intense, transcending the material presence of Sonotubes II and spreading much as the sound does—an unexpected equivalence between the two. Similarly, the viewer becomes immersed in the photographs, squinting to see their infinite nuances of color, clinging to the smallest detail—pebbles or ice crystals—concentrated on her own perceptual effort as on the image, as if listening for the sonic traces of the photographed places. Through this combination of sound and image, the visitor paradoxically experiences her own presence in time and space—paradoxically because time here is at once vaguely stretched out and suspended and because the space we are invited to travel through is almost like non-space, indeterminate and confusing, in which the individual takes leave of the world and herself. Counterpointing this displacement, however, Broccolichi inserts into his photographs the GPS coordinates of the sites, but in the form of cryptograms that, in these lunar landscapes, evoke futuristic architectures, combining sensory experience and the systems of abstract representation that make up the eminently complex definition of a place.

Guitemie Maldonado

Translated from French by Jeanine Herman.