Measurements of time and space are played with to give an illusion of permanence in an exhibition by French artist Noémie Goudal.
The Geometrical Determination of the Sunrise at The New Art Gallery in Walsall comprises photographs, films and installations. In the work Goudal is described as exploring “the relationship between reality and artifice and the intersection between nature and the man made”.
In a series of black and white photographs, Observatoires 2013-14, the artist has taken her reference point from the astronomical observatories built by Maharajah Jai Singh II in Jaipur and Delhi, inspired by the sun, moon and stars and used as an astronomical observatory.
In Jaipur they are sited in a concrete space, but Goudal seems to have taken them to new places, including the sea, but if you look close you can see the 3d is actually 2d and they are cut outs made of paper, with the folds left deliberately visible.
Satellite is also a 2d image made to look like a 3d, with this time the images are sound mirrors, placed in the Amazon jungle. Apparently these were used in England to provide early warning of enemy airplanes approaching the coast from 1916-30. In the jungle they look like some ancient sculpture, uncovered.
The relationship between man-made and natural is also looked at in two other works, which also seem to focus on repetition, and how compulsive it can be to watch repetitive behaviour.
In one, Diver, professional divers jump in succession from a metallic diving board into a mountain lake, with no other activity visible. It’s strangely mesmerising.
In the other, Tanker, 2014, a large ladder goes down into one of the world’s largest oil / chemical tankers, Cielo Di Guangzhou, and workers go slowly, backwards down a ladder running diagonally across the screen, into the tanker. They are going away from the light into the depths and you somehow want them to return and complete the process – but they don’t.
It’s an interesting and powerful exhibition, and the leaflet by Exhibitions and Artists’ Projects Curator Zoë Lippett adds to its understanding.