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Espace Huit

Do you remember that fabulous little gadget, the kaleidoscope, which as children — and we are talking long before the virtual electronics revolu­tion here — allowed us to transform the narrow-ness of our reality into an infinite world of en-chantment right under our very noses?
For some eight years now, this has been the basis of the work of Zofia Lipecka. Feeling as she does, stuck between her na­tive Poland and Paris (her adopted place of residence), she has taken it upon herself to create her own spaces, or "Microspaces" — the generic title of the artist's series of mirror-lined boxes — dissimulating scaled-down versions of a Waiting Room, Factory, Dormitory, Supermarket, Fast Food Joint, Gym, and so on. Unlike the trusty kaleidoscope, however, we cannot simply shift our sights towards the cut sections at the edges to see these banal urban interiors multiplied to the point of anguish. And while they may be boxed, there is actually no limit to these spaces.
For her first solo show at Espace Huit Novembre, the artist has opted to reverse the process by presenting four large-scale images taken from her optical installations.
If the kaleidoscope's flattening of three-dimensionality still imposes limits (the limits of framing), our sense of reality is still thrown into the abyss: altered. The illusory interiors are indeed astonishingly realistic, though it is a ghostly reality, visible but inaccessible. What are staged here are repetitive universes, vertiginous paraphrasings of modern-day alienation highlighted by the absence (or virtual presence) of man. The effectiveness of the whole trick is indeed undermined with the metaphysical reflection of man within the infinite universe of virtuality. The only box featured in the exhibition, the piece is set back from the rest of the works, is Utopia, a little oasis bathed in water and light, apparently an attempt to alert us to the fact that even happiness and the ideal have been turned into a great illusion.

Evelyne Jouanno (Translated from French by Christopher Martin)