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One could say that nothing much happens in the work of Edith Dekyndt, whose modest methods focus on overlooked and ephemeral phenomena. Yet with the minimum of means a sense of astonishment prevails, due to Dekyndt’s ability to engage invisible or latent forces and unstable materials in surprisingly tangible ways. For example, in the video, »provisory object 03«, two hands frame a rapidly shifting iridescent field. From today’s vantage, one might assume that these mesmerizing colour effects were achieved through digital enhancement. However, Dekyndt does not rely on post-production techniques; it turns out that the video is a simple recording of a soap bubble.
Of course, this and other pieces are created with much trial and error, based predominantly on ardent observation and simple experimental techniques. This is a crucial point because while her work often appears to reveal alternate worlds, this is absolutely not the case. Dekyndt’s approach is to frame existing processes and conditions; her concern is one of investigation and not illusion or escape. Although in her pieces time seems to slow down and take on material qualities, while space seems to expand or contract at will, it is by exploring common processes that she discovers a sense of the fantastic in the phenomenal. In »discreet piece«, a single lamp in a dark space illuminates ever-present dust particles that are filmed in real time and projected in the same space. The result is a dreamy, star-like projection that implicates the viewer in a surprising epistemological debate.
By focusing on the sculptural and painterly qualities of the mundane using time-based processes that activate change and decay, Dekyndt brings traditional formal concerns of artistic autonomy »down to earth«. The consequences are profound, focusing on questions of knowledge, perception, and reality by engaging the fascination and empathy of the viewer rather than »objective« analysis. If her minimal style, that isolates materials subjected to chemical and physical transformations, begs comparison to scientific procedures, her aim is thoroughly »subjective«, orientated not to results but towards mysterious occurrence. In her work, objects come alive in a way that breaks down typical subject-
object debates. And while primary categories of being are questioned, perception itself is problematized in works such as »myodesopsies (before life)«, which examines the phenomenon of minute particles of dust that float in the eyes and prevent the apprehension of a totally white surface. In the photographic series, living, empty hotel rooms are pictured from the uncanny vantage of the ever-present television set. By examining both observational imperfections and the material anomalies in the daily lives of objects, Dekyndt conceives of a »universal« sense of subjectivity, suggesting an alchemical and unstable sense of consciousness that is continually displaced and transformed.


Edith Dekyndt: »untitled« 2004 Palladium & Copper Blanket, 300x45 cm
Courtesy: the artist and galerie Greta Meert, Brussels
Text: Rodney Latourelle
Translation into English: Nina Franz
Camera/editing: Uli Aumüller, Sebastian Rausch


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