Image: Philip Carr
Dominique De Beir
La Route Blanche
30 June – 19 August 2007
Come in. Out of the sunshine. Out of the glare. Let your eyes adjust to the partial light inside Dominique De Beir’s installation, La Route Blanche. In the gallery, cardboard boxes and fruit crates were used to build cavernous spaces and tunnels, blasted by holes that sprinkled the interior with shimmering constellations.
With peculiar tools invented for the purpose, De Beir made impulsive and random gestures to stab paper and cardboard surfaces from which a galaxy of tactile patterns emerged on and through the structure. Reminiscent of ancient languages, hieroglyphics, Braille or frantic, indecipherable telegrams these patterns inhabited the gap between drawing and writing.
De Beir concerns herself with the notion of ‘polymorphism’, the ability of a material to exist in more than one form. The huge architectural structures she makes appear to be very solid but are actually quite fragile. The interior dissolves into the exterior and the perforated surface illustrates this paradox; the whole testing the limits of what is visible and mutable.
La Route Blanche echoed the form of derelict military bunkers, often pockmarked by conflict, and the hidden tunnels to be found on both sides of the Channel that have since become eerie and mysterious refuges. In part, it recreated a fictional landscape for adventure and youthful excursions into the unknown; following the paths of countless children engaged in tentative and imaginative encounters and pointing to other, perhaps darker confrontations between fear and curiosity.
Dominique used recycled fruit crates to make a corridor that led to a cavernous space built out of simple cardboard boxes. This temporary structure was randomly perforated by holes that sprinkle the interior with shimmering constellations of light, creating a third zone, an inner sanctum of new intensity and momentary calm.