Far from Honolulu
Rosier’s body of films, gleam with that indeterminate in-between glow of twilight. Things hardly move at all in her films. They are, quite simply, often without plot, without spoken voice and without narrative elements. Such is the case of Far from Honolulu (2003), a film exploring the plight of intuition and emotion inside the idea of the sea journey. In the film, a pensive and reflective man is depicted playing guitar at sea as well as from inside a boat looking outward. Airy and divine-like, he is shown sleeping, in a trance state, staring out to the ocean, waiting for the journey to pass, progress, in order to arrive somewhere, but where? There is mention of Recife, Brazil, but one gets the sense that figure and place is almost other-worldly or mythic. This is further highlighted by the repetitious sound of the ocean’s waves. The ending of the film is quite arbitrary, expressing a clear desire to not illustrate an end or a narrative, but another kind of vacant agency close to immediacy and the present.
Mathilde Rosier’s oeuvre arguably skirts the line between real and fiction. Not in the sense of plausible but fake alternative histories or but rather, hers are theatrical renderings in film, performance, painting or sculpture. The cultivation of illusion and ambiguity, as a counter to the concrete veracity of factual things, is one of Mathilde Rosier’s persistent concerns. The artworks that result seem decidedly uncontemporary; without attempting to be nostalgic per se, they appear out of our time or quaint. Pastel-colored watercolors of birds attached to hats, melodic musical scores, videos permeated with the haze of twilight: the artist would tell you that her art sits at the limit of the “acceptable,” as it is at times too charmingly pretty and too apparently inoffensive to fit in an art world that often privileges other qualities. But behind the apparent naivety of her fantastical world is a force that deceives or, indeed, that makes deception the very thread that binds her work together.
Mathilde Rosier was born in 1973 in Paris and currently lives and works in Burgundy and Berlin.