Mathilde Lavenne


Year of birth: 1982 Field: New media, film City: Wrocław

Born in 1982 in France, graduate of the École Supérieure d’Expression Plastique in Tourcoing, École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg and Le Fresnoy, Studio national des Arts Contemporains, she started her artistic practice with drawing, but then it evolved to digital technologies, such as video, interactive installations, computer graphics and animation. Mathilde is interested in tools, devices, objects resembling complex machines, images imitating mirrors and kaleidoscopes. Her work is characterized by specific purity, clarity of form, sort of scientific discipline, the need to not so much organize the chaos, but capture it for a moment and and present a piece of it in a clear manner.

She's interested in land art, landscape – as an object of observation, as well as interference, but also in esotericism, parapsychology, psychedelia. Shamanism is an interesting trail for her, she searches for people connecting with spirits, ancestors and mystery or discovering places of cult, different dimensions, parallel universes. The artist explores their nature and chances to exist in the modern, digitized world.

Mathilde's projects are like journeys, a travel, following her inner voice, calling or sign, uncovering her own history or adventure – layer after layer. Mathilde came to Wrocław thanks to Witold Gombrowicz. She got interested in Poland in the last few years after she read “Opętani” and “Kosmos” by this author, and as a result she came to Wrocław for a two months long AIR Wro residency. When she started exploring, letting the short and log trips set the rhythm, she learned the strange, post-war history of Wrocław and Lower Silesia – meaning the year 1945 and the complete "exchange" of the German population for Poles, and therefore lack of rooted identity of it's new citizens. That gave her the idea of Wrocław as a city of ghosts, shadows, waiting to scratch it's surface and see what's hiding underneath. During the expeditions – organized together with the curator of her residency, Marta Dziedziniewicz – she visited haunted, mysterious places radiating extraordinary energy, like  Wzgórze Partyzantów or Sobótka, where even now it's possible to find the remnants of pagan cults and one of the strongest chakras in Poland. And right there, on the mountainside of Radunia, Mathilde met a shamaness from Guatemala (!) who set up a Mayan horoscope for her.

The process of Lavenne’s residency was partly presented during “Cienie / Shadows” exhibition, which was held at the Pokoyhof Passage, hidden in the huge basement underneath the main club scene spot in the city. The exhibition was a record, an evidence and a mental map of a ritual of exploration driven by Gombrowicz's search of meaning and peculiarity in a free, intuitive, spontaneous, selective way. Convinced that the peculiarity lies not in paranormal phenomena, but in people, things, places and ordinary events.