Sabrina Ratté's First US Solo Exhibition
• October 6, 2016 •
YOUNG PROJECTS GALLERY | Curatorial Statement
IImmeuble Villas, Sabrina Ratte Aluminum print with HD video augementation
Co-curated by Sharsten Plenge, Young Projects is pleased to present Lieux-Dits the first US solo exhibition by Montreal-based artist Sabrina Ratté.
On view will be a survey of the artist’s works in addition to new site-specific installations exploring video as environment— including structural settings for works such as Common Areas, a sprawling, room-sized, four-channel installation, single-channel videos, and projection prints. Extending the flatness of the image into multidimensional habitats, Ratté’s latest works for Young Projects explore the nature of the electronic image as physical space, residing in both tangible and virtual expanses.
Drawn by atmosphere and spatial memory, Ratté utilizes video to revel in the transparencies of epistemological space. Dematerializing photographs she captures from “reality,” Ratté works between realms of interference— interweaving analog techniques with digital software to create spaces rich with texture and luminosity. “Sculpting electronic signals into architectures,” her practice permeates from a deep-rooted interest in engaging with the image itself and extending the parameters inherent to its frame.
The show’s title refers to the expression for small geographic regions or villages with no registered or official name. These “lieux-dits” are baptized based on historical anecdotes, myth or legend, or denoted as a landmark with a name characteristic of their place. Evoking an uninhabited site existing in the imaginary or in secrecy, the conception of “lieux-dits” relates to Ratté’s conversation with architecture, growing a body of work continually informed by the [in]visible landscape and the [un]built nature of place. Viewing architecture as “another manifestation of science fiction,” Ratté’s installations invoke the moving image as a portal for accessing a surreal and elusive territory.
Sabrina Ratté’s video practice investigates the creation of virtual environments generated by analog technologies. Approaching electricity as raw material, she sculpts, transforms and alters the digital image into luminous and vibrating architectures. Her work exists on the edge of science-fiction, between abstraction and figuration, utopia and dystopia, architecture and landscape. She has been featured in numerous international exhibitions and platforms, concurrent to her audiovisual project with electronic composer and musician Roger Tellier-Craig as Le Révélateur. Spanning installations, GIFs, prints and live performances, her works have been exhibited with Paddles On! 1st Digital Art Auction at Phillips (New York), EMPAC (Troy), Museum of the Moving Image (New York), the International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2016 Pulse New York – Contemporary Art Fair, BIAN (Montreal), the Lampo series (Chicago), Elektra (Montreal), MUTEK (Montreal, Mexico, Barcelona). Her videos have been released on DVD by San Francisco label Root Strata and with video label Undervolt & Co. She is part of the online collective Computers Club and is represented by Laffy Maffei Gallery (Paris).
Sharsten Plenge is a curator inspired by a world saturated in digital excess, instant access, and convenience. Through her projects and mission of WOAH (We Open Art Houses), she seeks utopian residues in a pervasive atmosphere of screens, sensory overload, and urban greyfields. She has collaborated on projects in Berlin, Houston, New York, and Los Angeles, where she currently resides and founded WOAH in 2012. A creative agency and idea hub housing spaces with experiential projects, WOAH works in tandem with artists, multimedia brands, and property owners, to orient the intersection of art and technology in unexpected places.
Cultivating an ongoing dialogue with machines, Ratté utilizes video as a language for transcribing a world embedded in artifice into parallel realms of her own. A tool to render the fine line between the real and the illusory, and excavate the hierarchies between them, Ratté employs video to produce didactic surfaces where the moving image activates the boundless potential of architectonics. Citing influence through touring the monumental buildings of Le Corbusier, the otherworldly ambience of Ricardo Bofill’s Espaces Abraxas, and the “villes nouvelles” (new towns) in France, Ratté shares a mesmerization with the “dystopic poetry” of corporatism with frequent collaborator, electronic music composer Roger Tellier-Craig. Together they form Le Révélateur, where Ratté provides the visual components for a project in perpetual conversation between image and sound— melding an experience where music and images are inseparable.
Transforming images into abstract portals “where pixels and electronic signals are suddenly prominent,” Ratté’s sensibility for how to dissect video’s anatomy to reveal the elasticity of spatial comprehension and apprehension is evident in earlier experiments. The possibility of creating 3D environments from signal generated video images is apparent in works such as Fakeaway Haptics and Littoral Zones, where Ratté’s signature style brings depth to the screen— bending the “signal of the video itself to carve out corridors of an undetermined distance.” The tension between planes of projection and reality function as subject and object— pulsating gradients oscillate to colorize simulated spaces where entryways and exits glide and break within prismatic scrolls. CGI and cinematic aesthetics collide, divisions of interior and exterior merge, as we pass through fragmented spaces devoid of figures and always in motion.
Dislocated in time, these manifestations are precursors for Ratté’s recent articulations of hybrid image-objects where the virtual habitat stretches from the monitor or projected wall into actual wallpapers and augmented architectural settings. Designating the printed and moving image as a surface spanning physical architectural facades, Ratté invokes trompe l’oeil and forced perspective to suspend us between frames.
Reconfiguring works such as Common Areas and Winter Garden, Ratté designates the moving image as a site for interaction— placing the viewer in rooms where pulsing panels and hypnotic frames wipe and undulate to articulate corridors among built structures; involving the viewer to navigate through this modified perception and built web of architectonic space. First presented at the Museum of Moving Image in New York, and recently elaborated in conjunction with Dolby in San Francisco, Ratté presents Common Areas as a physical composite of interlocking screens— forming a hybrid area superimposed on structural skins to create a passageway that crosses, oscillates, and interlinks.
Similar to reflecting on the memory of moving through monumental architectures, Ratté positions the viewer into settings toggling between real and projected space— environments where the interplay of light, form, and geometry combine to communicate a language of atmosphere, eliciting experiences of unexpected discovery. Adapting layers of simulation into dynamic projections spanning architectural skins of accumulating volumes, Ratté’s moving environments immerse us in structures of multiplicity— continually probing the possibility for building and questioning our relationship within the constructs of metaphoric space.