• Jean-Francois Podevin


Updated: Oct 12

Jean-Francois Podevin's Time Machines by Colin Gardner

(continued from part 1)

Podevin is highly self-conscious of the structural and systemic ramifications of his installation, on both macro- and micro- levels. Firstly, the machines are configured in the gallery space in a basic octagonal shape (symbolic of periodic renewal) with each side representing a compass point.

After entering the installation through a threshold gate at the northeast side of the installation, the spectator can move left, within the inner circle, and encounter the machines as a form of macro-cosmos, each with its own philosophical and metaphysical meaning, thematic color and geographic significance. Thus, for example, the first machine, Fiat Lux (‘Let there be light’) is positioned on the east side of the octagon and represents the beginning of the cycle (light, origin, creation, the sunrise, the monad). The second machine, Belly of the Fish faces southeast and is dyadic, representing by turns the pair, twins, union, division, polarity, the sexes, illusion and lie, but also the creative tension produced by oppositions. The third, Desert Voices, is triadic and points south, representing the triangle, the arch, thresholds, and the binding power of the dialectic. Machines four through seven (The Alpha and the Omega, On the Beach, Occident, and Instance of Eternity), continue this metaphysical path from monad to multiplicity, symbolizing, by turns, the principles of uncertainty (southwest), regeneration (west), the collective unconscious (northwest) and finally, the end of the spectrum – the instantaneity and incommensurability of both harmony and eternity, represented by the northern light.

Early stage of Composite Memories installation

This spatial structure changes every few days over the course of the exhibition as the machines are reconfigured in different geometrical orders. Thus they move from the octagon to staggered and seven-branch formations, followed by single curve and single line arrangements. The objective is to underline both the inescapability of macro-structures inherent in both constructing and predetermining meaning – as rational beings we cannot help but attempt to make reasonable sense of things - but also to express and celebrate the constantly changing fluidity and formlessness of the random relationship between each of the 365 memory images on display, whether we read across and between the machines as a group or within a single internal narrative formation.

(to be continued in part 3)

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