View of “Pia Rönicke,” 2012.

View of “Pia Rönicke,” 2012.

Pia Rönicke

gb agency

View of “Pia Rönicke,” 2012.

In Pia Rönicke’s recent exhibition “Dream and action find equal support in it,” everything was a matter of transparency—above all, that of the forms and ideas she assembled and borrowed from the Irish-born architect and designer Eileen Gray, whose oeuvre and precepts served as a script for what might be called an augmented or collaborative solo show. But transparency was also a matter of the Danish artist’s very approach, since she exhibited here, without restriction and without restraint, documents in the rawest, most straightforward form possible: photocopies, collage, low-resolution photographs. At the heart of the setup, however, was a video shot in the famous villa E.1027 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (on the Côte d’Azur, east of Monaco), one of the rare constructions that Gray realized, which she built in 1929 for her lover, the Romanian architect and critic Jean Badovici. Abandoned for many years before being designated a historic monument in 2000, this house serves both as a set and as a playing field for Rönicke, who filmed it at an angle, in a fragmentary mode, and furthermore inversed the perception of its spaces through a system of mirrors. Through the intermediary of her camera, she strolls through the house as if in a dream. And she envisions it all as a surface on which to project fantasy, following in the footsteps of the Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes, who in 2008 at the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry–le Crédac recomposed the mental skeleton of this architecture, which was also meant to be a critical manifesto responding to the five points of modernist architecture decreed by Le Corbusier.

Immersed in partial darkness, the gallery was further enlivened by a slide show in which, by way of a mirror, images of the house were projected onto a sixteen-part paper screen. In the adjoining room, the lighting was exclusively furnished by a system of hanging paper lamps made from photocopies of the sources gathered together by Rönicke.On the walls was a quiet display of images extracted from the Bauhaus archives, and from the history of photography and choreography, among them a reproduction of The Mirror Room, 1893, a drawing by the pioneering American modern dancer Loïe Fuller, showing a patented device meant to multiply the performer’s image onstage. Also on display was a photographic self-portrait of Hannah Höch reproduced five times. Höch, of course, was a key figure in the Dada movement who was, at the time, too quickly eclipsed by her companion Raoul Haussman, although today it is Höch who is more renowned. This story of transparency that Rönicke recounts is also the story of art history, which has only recently begun to revisit its shadowed areas and finally to cast light on the works and heritage of numerous women artists who have fallen into oblivion or who are underrecognized.

Claire Moulène

Translated from French by Molly Stevens.