Derme / Dermis

2016  / Performance / Interactive / Installation

Interactive video performance on the history of the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Based on an archive photography of the place in 1904, when it was a german school.

First Shown at Jewish Museum of Belgium during “100 artistes en liberté” in 2016.

Walls Memory

The idea behind this project was to convene former resident of the building one last time, before its demolition. Convene the past before making a big step towards the future.  Often my works can be simplified by taking a French expression literally, for Derme we could use this one: “ils font partie des murs” (“they are part of the walls.”)  For indeed it is the feeling I had while visiting the scene: the building oozes with history written in the successive layers: architecture, wallpaper, plaster, paint.  Looking through the archives of the museum I was particularly touched by the time it was a German school and child class photos from 1904, so it’s them that I decided to recall.

The work was developed in 3 stages: performance, video installation, then creation of related works. The performance uses interactive techniques, including infrared detection, building a live alpha cache and video projection. The video installation requires only a projector and a Blue-ray player. Related works are framed photographs and a modified old mirror.

The performance:
A figure dressed in black walks facing the wall which was previously painted black, it is the artist. In his hands a hammer and chisel, timeless tools of the sculptor. After a time of contemplation he heads to the wall and began carving it delicately.  Under his chisel, where the painted surface is attacked, the light appears slowly into the hole. As he progress in his work, we can recognize a pair of eye in black and white, then a whole face, then later in another hole, a hand, then another face “liberated” from the walls. These faces, this light does arisen only where the artist carved the wall, the rest of the walls stay black. The light moves around the faces, forming flickering halos, making them liveliest, more vibrant.  The work is meticulous, slow, revealing little by little other faces fled into the walls. The space gradually becomes clearer with the projected video light on the wall. The sculptor reveals many little faces of children watching us in the eye, some adults, a few hands. He leaves in the black of the wall, bodies, benches, and classroom sets.  By stripping the wall, he reveals its history, its past, sleeping below this thin layer of paint, and find bits of a classroom more than 100 years old. Along the way we have lost perspective, decorations, details. What stays are those faces watching, beyond time, through the wall.  The faces so projected onto the plaster acquire a special texture comparable to that of old cracked frescoes.

The installation and related works, like NFT.
When the performance ended, a video fille is created and remain a video installation requiring only a video projector and a blue-ray player. Photos were taken of the projection to create firstly a modified triple mirror, where children’s faces appear from behind the scratched mirror. But also framed pictures of children portraits, alone or as a groups.

And lastly a variation called Dermis Revelation as an NFT. 

Related Pieces: Mirror & Picture

Triptique Miroir Derme #1
Miroir et photo
(Papier FineArt 100%coton)
37cm x 16cm
pièce unique

Derme duo photo #1
Photo tirée sur papier FineArt 100%coton
Cadre aluminuim
30cm x 40cm
série de 3

Derme III (Collection du Musée Juif de Belgique)
Photo tirée sur papier FineArt 100%coton
107×56,5cm,  cadre antique doré.
Pièce Unique, 2016.

  • collection du Musée Juif de Belgique