Néphéli Barbas & Martin Herold: Ghost Walk
If the two artists are particularly interested in a certain architectural context, this urban environment operates as a portrait in hollow of the characters who wander, float or wait there by repeating endlessly the same attitudes and the same gestures. This idea of a ghostly walk could also be that of automatons who relive the same situations over and over again in the same settings, without being aware of the passage of time, without seeing the dust that velvets the original brilliance of things, the breaches that form, the ruins. These ghosts, or automatons, do not know the nostalgia of past times, since they eternally relive a present moment. Or, who knows, perhaps at the heart of this eroding mechanism there are still memories. Who knows if ghosts have a good memory? This walk, this ghost walk, is ultimately an attitude, a certain nonchalance, that of someone who wanders between past and present without suffering the biting desires of the living, without hurrying. These characters inhabiting the place end up being part of it, sharing its materiality. Light is reflected on them in the same way as on stone or sand, sound reverberates through them as through metal or glass.
The urban landscape itself becomes ghostly. If the scenes described in the drawings or paintings in the exhibition seem to be realistic snapshots of a specific moment, they are the result of the same walks of these spirits through the city. Their presence is like a ghostly echo of different memories of wanderings. When Martin depicts a modernist entrance, Nepheli seizes one of its details and reintegrates it into the physical space of the gallery. The transition from the two-dimensional to the three-dimensional world is not without effect for this triangular-based lamp: it in turn undergoes the effects of this baroque shifting, this swaying deviation, as if the prism of memory suddenly gave it this undulating vitality.
This prism of memory is important in the practices of M and N. The urban setting, the cohabitation and juxtaposition of different genres and eras that one encounters when walking down the street is somehow similar to the typology of memory itself. The supernatural irruption of an art-deco building or a Romanesque church in a place where one would not expect it at all, is a bit like the resurgence of a memory, opportune or not. The imaginary and imagined wanderings of M and N allow a commutativity between past and present, while leaving behind a linear vision of time. The artists would like the exhibition to be experienced as a urban walk, where the viewer becomes for a time this ghostly presence.