Reflections on Sensitive Water Mapping

Last month, we had the pleasure of listening to the inspiring talk entitled “Are we there yet?” by eminent art academic Dr. Anne Robinson, as she shared with us her reflections on Amélie Ducommun’s series Sensitive Water Mapping, now on show at the gallery.

Dr. Anne Robinson’s work explores the connections between time passing and painting, echoing Amélie Ducommun’s approach to painting as she seeks to picture her own memory of felt experience and the traces of time passing contained in landscape.

The resonance between both artists’ work fostered the audience’s engagement with the paintings surrounding them in the gallery and provided the opportunity for an interactive talk and an inspirational exchange of ideas, perceptions and reactions.

In the same way as one escapes reality when contemplating the reflecting surfaces of water, Amélie Ducommun’s work prompts the viewer’s thoughts to drift and imagination to be stimulated. As her paintings explore footprints of water and stone, the viewer falls, drowns and loses track of time for the space of a few moments. The rich, deep and layered paint surfaces, constantly revised and reworked by the artist convey a certain sense of time slipping and sliding. As such, the more the spectator looks at one of Amélie Ducommun’s paintings, the more they discover and is able to re-experience traces of the artist’s own journey.

As Dr Robinson noted, quoting French philosopher Lyotard, Amélie Ducommun’s paintings could be described as “figural”: while these are not illustrative or narrative, they use references from the real world and disrupt reality in a way that grants them the power to affect us emotionally. Distancing themselves from a Cartesian vision of the world, Amélie Ducommun’s paintings are always in motion and suspension. As different elements from reality emerge and appear when contemplating one of her paintings, so do places of memories and the viewer’s own interpretation and internal subjectivity.

During the Q&A session that followed the talk, a very interesting point of discussion raised was the prominence of the colour white across Amélie Ducommun’s work. While for some, the use of this colour was aimed at creating opacity and a sense of bluriness, for others, it triggered childhood memories. A very touching conclusion to the event was a participant’s reflection on how the combination of the colour white and the aquatic motifs reminded her of her childhood spent by the seaside, where she would often walk into the sea barefoot and contemplate her reflection through the foam of the water.