Ashes to Ashes

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Ashes to Ashes


Because this material remains after physical or chemical operations, industrial transformations or even after manufacturing, the residue is of lesser value. No product can be extracted from it, it cannot claim any interest. Because it is only a remnant, it is simply free to remain there, without disappearing or moving, just good for maintaining itself in the same state. Fabrice Leroux decides to revalue this a priori unimportant residue. Participating in its reappearance, discovering and investing its material, transmitting its symbolic potential, these are all avenues that the artist's videos and photographs explore in order to convince us of its study, its resonance, its corporeal presence. Since the residue remains, let us linger on it, we seem to be told.

Ashes to Ashes questions our relationship to ash. The residue of the corpse after the fire has been extinguished, of the body after the fire of life has been extinguished, the ash has no value, except as a symbolic evocation of death.

From this macabre reminder of the precarious nature of existence, Fabrice Leroux associates the symbol of the eternal return, where the use of ash in rituals is conducive to various and varied resurrections (placed in a cross on the dying to alternate death and life in Christian monasteries, twin heroes transformed into ash before resurrecting among the Maya-Quiché, spread on the top of a mountain to call for rain among the Muisca, etc.).Without fear or fatality", it is therefore a question of reactivating the living through the ashes, attributing a positive value to the residue, and thereby extracting its dynamic potential.

The video opens on a floor covered in ashes. In the distance, in the half-light of the disused site, a column of light emerges, closer to the skylight than to the window. In the air, dust, light. Then, standing in front of the light, Cedranna begins her dance. All spontaneity and freedom, she multiplies the groping of matter, of the environment, of her own body, just as she experiments with various throws of this powdery projectile in which her flesh is mixed. In her hands, these are grains that flow onto the ground, when she does not return to meet them. No doubt because for Cedranna, this dance is conducive to play, where she progressively transforms her desire to work with matter into a performance, where the propelled ash suddenly resembles a weapon, then the next second an hourglass, or even dry earth to be ploughed.

A closer look at the montage Ashes to Ashes It is a matter of repetition, of coming and going, where the light moves in the same way as the dancer and the material, where the action is reproduced indefinitely, as if to support the cyclical nature of the elements staged. Fabrice Leroux cultivates the serial image just as Cedranna reactivates its rituals. And when the gesture ceases, it is the sequence that is rewound, to bring the ashes back to the sky.

Mathieu Lelièvre
(Art critic)