The Ghost of Herself

Daniela Lancioni, senior curator at Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, talks on Myriam Laplante

By La Galleria Nazionale

Passaggi II by Myriam LaplanteLa Galleria Nazionale

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Passaggi II (Passages II) by Myriam Laplante is a work of 1996. A dark wooden structure frames a backlit photographic image.

The structure is reminiscent of the door of one of those so-called mirror cabinets that surfaced in France in the nineteenth century and still remain very popular in domestic interiors today.

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The Nineteenth century is also summoned by the sepia-toned photographic image and the environment it portrays, half comforting, half kitsch.

Wallpaper on the wall, a small painting of a sailing ship, a comfortable bergère, a curtain, a rug and a floor lamp.

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This room is inhabited by ghosts.

A man sits in an armchair and stands up at the same time, semi-transparent, pervaded by the furniture objects. The female figure on the right is the author.

She emerges from the wall, her face is clear, the rest fades into the lines of the wallpaper, with the exception of a foot which protrudes forward, the light fabric of the carpet wrinkling around it. It is this detail that gives the impression that the woman is emerging from the wall.

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Her ghost recurs in Laplante's works of the Nineties, in installations, performances or photographs, such as in this case. She is a tranquil ghost in good company, or sorrowful because she cannot pass through walls and cries.

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Is the mirror, which the image replaces, that of Snow White's stepmother or the one intuited by Lacan?

Mocking break down of narcissism or realisation through the discovery of one's own double?

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Is an artist depicting herself as a ghost in the 1990s suggesting she is foreign to the rampant presenteeism of the time?
For a performer who shapes her body into the subject of her work, is fading as a ghost seen as an act of irony?

Does the power to cross matter avert the ageless risk of the wallflower woman?
Does the passing, the action of crossing, indicate a multiplicity of non-hierarchical experiences?
Does the bountiful nineteenth-century atmosphere that emanates from the work evoke a pre-plastic, pre-insecticides, pre-atomic bomb time?

Credits: Story

Voice message by Daniela Lancioni, senior curator at Azienda Speciale Palaexpo.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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