Ashes to Ashes

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Ashes to Ashes


Because this material survives physical or chemical operations, industrial transformations or manufacturing, the residue is of lower 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 at maintaining itself in the same state. Fabrice Leroux decided to revalue this residue, which is a priori unimportant. Participating in its reappraisal, discovering and investing its material, transmitting its symbolic potential, as many avenues as the artist’s videos and photographs explore in order to convince us of its study, its resonance, its bodily presence. Since the residue remains, let us then focus on it, we seem to be told.

Ashes to Ashes wonders about our relationship to ashes. Residue of the corpse after extinction of the fire, of the body after the fire of life has been extinguished, ashes have no value, except the symbolic evocation of death.

Fabrice Leroux associates this macabre reminder of the precarious nature of existence with the symbol of the eternal return, where the use of ashes in rituals is propitious to various and varied resurrections (placed on the moribund to alternate death and life in Christian monasteries, twin heroes transformed into ashes before resurrecting among the K’iche’ Maya, distributed at the top of a mountain to call for rain among the Muisca of Colombia, etc...) “Without fear or fatality”, it is therefore a question of reactivating the living by ashes, by attributing a positive value to the residue, and thus extracting its dynamic potentials.

The video opens on a floor covered with ashes. In the distance, in the darkness of the abandoned place, a column of light emerges, closer to the murderer than to the window. In the air, the dust, light. Then, standing in front of the light, Cedranna begins her dance. All in spontaneity and freedom, she multiplies the trial and error of matter, the environment, her own body, just as she experiments with various throws of this powdery missile with which her flesh mixes. In her hands, these are grains that flow on the ground, when she does not turn round to meet them. Undoubtedly because for Cedranna, this dance is propitious to play, where she gradually transforms her desires to deal with the performing material , where the propelled ashes suddenly like a weapon, then the next one to an hourglass, or even a dry earth to plough.

A closer look at the montage Ashes to Ashes reveals that Ashes to Ashes is a matter of repetition, of back and forth, where by transversal operations 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 stops, it is the sequence that is rewound, to bring up the ashes to heaven.

Mathieu Lelièvre
(Art Critic)