ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS
Marianne Berenhaut - 2013 - Mal quelque part [FR, essay],
It Hurts Somewhere
A concise description of some works by Marianne Berenhaut
J’ai mal quelque part (It Hurts Somewhere, 2012) is a grey carpet, given to Berenhaut by a fellow artist, rolled up and cut open in the middle to reveal a ripped white thread. It’s a powerful piece, even without the title. “It’s as if these characters appear from nowhere,” the artist says, “and I have no control over them.”
Si proche (So Close, 2013). Two small chairs placed next to each other in such a way that children sitting on them would look each other in the eyes. The sculpture has a special effect, because the edges of the seats are oblique (they are wider in front than at the back), which seems to make them fit together. On reading this, the artist remarked: “I don’t picture children on the chairs. For me the chairs are the characters.”
Est-ce qu’il me renconnaîtra? (Will He Recognise Me?) (2012) is a comfortable red and pink chair with three legs. The artist tells me she thinks it’s a miracle that some of her sculptures stand at all! “I think it’s funny that they hold out,” she says.
La rencontre (The Encounter, 2013) Three wooden scooters with little red wheels lean against each other, their handlebars touching. Two scooters face one way, the third the other way.
La famille (The Family, 2009) consists of two red-painted aluminium plates, a red expansion tank, the red skeleton of a metal chair, two timber wagons and a red, green and yellow girl’s dress. One of the wagons has metal-coloured wheels, just as the expansion tank has a metal-coloured ring in the middle. The scene is beautiful. The objects seem to belong together because of the predominant red colour, but the shape of the objects and the colours of the dress and the metal-coloured elements provide the differentiation necessary to represent a free family.
La règle de multiplication (The Rules of Multiplication, 2013). Cardboard box, open on one side and filled with a ball of yellow masking tape, tree balls of tied up bamboo leaves.
Un jour comme les autres (Just Another Day, 2012). A long piece of corrugated cardboard, still rolled up on one side, and on it traces of footsteps and a dozen pairs of shoemaker’s lasts.
Déviation (Deviation, 2012). An installation featuring a red rectangle drawn on the floor. Outside this rectangle stands a little house made of lead but coloured with red crayon. Inside the rectangle is an orange pole and at its foot a traffic sign pointing in two opposite directions.
Le long du dimanche (The Whole Sunday, 2013). We see a large piece of fabric of the sort generally used for dishcloths in Belgium. This long form is a kind of miracle. On the cloth we find a small lead boat coloured with blue crayon. A private notice reads: “Everybody his own way, one leaves, the other arrives.”
Rangement ordinaire (Ordinary Order, 2013). A small chair next to a much higher chair on which a large number of neatly folded pieces of cloth are piled up. “There’s an attempt to create order, even if the parts of the same family are so different.” (A notice in the private folder reads: “Please ensure the pieces of cloth are folded neatly.”)
Le bureau (The Office, 1993). Four chairs with red imitation leather seats stand next to a metal filing cabinet leaning against the wall. “The filing cabinet represents the seriousness of administrative work, even if it fails. The four chairs observe and undergo.”
Table de jardin (Garden Table, 1993). Lead pipe attached to a metal garden table with a plaster dressing.
Aquarium (Aquarium, 1996). Lead pipe on aquarium.
A jeter (For disposal, 2006). A row of green bags.
Le lit (The Bed, 2000). Bed with seaweed and glass bowls.
En rang (In a Row, 1992) is an installation featuring a row of black typewriters. Those in front have been crushed. Hanging over the typewriters are bare light bulbs.
Il s’est passé quelque chose (Something Has Happened, 1987). Assemblage consisting of a predominantly red carpet, the pale-blue left front chassis of a car (the window half open) leaning against the wall, a pair of shoes, a purse, a pink satin gown lying on the carpet and four chairs of different sizes upholstered in chicken wire.
Ligoté sur table basse (Fettered to a Low Table, 1996). A lead pipe fettered to a small table by means of a strip of lead.
L’arbre de Noël aux enfants (Christmas Tree with Children, 2000). Knitted dolls in different colours (yellow, red, green, brown, pink, white and black) entangled in fairy lights, miraculously held up by a thin, pale yellow structure. The smallest doll sits comfortably on top, surveying the surrounding space from its vantage point. Not all the dolls look sad. One of them even has a big smile and wears a yellow scarf and a bonnet to keep it warm.
Un mariage entre un vélo et des interrupteurs (A Marriage between a Bicycle and Switches, 2003). Two bicycle mudguards, a bent strip of aluminium and four porcelain light switches.
Le grand bleu (The Big Blue, 1989, remade in 2008). A long blue vinyl canvas about three metres wide, a roll of transparent blue textile and three cardboard rolls. Adhesive tape to attach the canvas and the textile to the walls.
Comment tu me trouves? (How Do You Find Me?) (2010). A female character consisting of an aluminium ladder and thin aluminium bars from which pieces of knitting hang.
Pour la troisième fois on l’a tiré du tiroir (For the Third Time She Was Pulled out of the Drawer, 2010). A child’s wedding dress lying on a child’s desk with an open drawer.
Je le déteste, je l’aime (I Hate Him, I Love Him, 2010). A little cart with small wheels and a long handle carries a weight that seems to be disproportionately small for the size of the cart. The floor of the cart is covered with a sheet of aluminium.
La ritournelle (The Ritornello, 2010). Two roll-down shutters placed on their side, engaged in a close spiral dance.
Vert mon coeur (Green To My Heart, 2010). A green garden door is placed at a certain distance from two fragments of a turquoise door bearing the words “C’est ici” (It’s here). Written in aquarelle pencil, these words slowly fade.
Etre-là (Being There, 2011). A bent lead pipe stands on a flat corrugated cardboard pedestal.
De toi à moi (From You to Me, 2011). A three-metre-long, yellow folding rule and a badly constructed white metal picture frame.
A l’abri du vent (Sheltered from the Wind, 2011). A pile of blankets of the sort used by removal men partly covers the mannequin of a child.
Montagne de Miel, October 30th 2013