Cécile Wesolowski, born 1982 in Croix, France, lives and works in Potsdam, Germany
It seems paradoxical to imagine time as a constant, an unchangeable parameter in uncertain, volatile times. In the opinion of the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, however, it is precisely this volatility, for which he uses the term "liquid", that constitutes our contemporary era. Liquidity describes a quality in which that which is diaphanous takes the place of that which is solid, and longing is stronger than need. "Liquid life", taken from Bauman's 2005 publication on the theme, is likewise present in the title of Cécile Wesolowski's first exhibition in Austria. The artist understands time as a constant flow that is able to make visible alterations in reality and personal perception. To this end, it must be sequenced into moments, whose concatenation is directed by a narrative structure - before, now, and afterwards. Thus time apparently becomes tangible.
Cécile Wesolowski manifests this longing in an extensive installation: a volcano covered with shining gold rocailles and decorative ornamentation serves as an ironic metaphor for sumptuous objects and precious wishes. Composed of meticulously folded and layered thermal blankets, which in French are called couverture de survie (survival blankets), the volcano is surrounded by mirror foil which, sensuously gleaming, extends into the room like liquid silver. The external neo-baroque appearance is deceptive, since from its interior dark bitumen is extruded, continually burying the shiny outer surface in gradual, arbitrary drops beneath its viscous mass. The staged destruction evokes a desire for a pausing or rewinding of time, a desire which in particular after losses - be they of love, capital or nature - remains unfulfilled in the 'analogue' reality beyond art and the digital world.
The irreversible consequence of the transformation of the work and the hallucinatory lights of the material have a dramatic effect. Two video works, suggestive of smart-phone recordings in their aesthetic and format, additionally increase this effect. A backwards-running hunting accident and the recording of a meteor, incessantly playing backwards and forwards in a loop, illustrate the unattainable wish to be able to correct mistakes in the past, to have a chance to alter the future. The images of longing are accompanied by a ceramic sculpture, a hybrid of the Greek kairos, the personified divinity of the favourable moment in time, and a Japanese daruma, who aids in fulfilling desires. Like a final, silent act of desperation, the daruma stands in the window. Neither he, nor the meteor nor the survival blankets can safeguard us against the fleetingness of time. In "The relation to time in liquid life", Cécile Wesolowski depicts this painful feeling, whose gravity lies beneath false hopes and unfulfilled desires in a colourful illusory world.
(Andrea Kopranovic, 2020, translated by Sarah Cormack)