Catherine Bodmer


Excerpts from text published in exhibition brochure, articule 1998

The odour is nose-piercing. I recognise, very well, this lemony perfume which abruptly refers to many known moments. Nothing concrete emerges to the surface of my memory, only a feeling of déjà-vu, of a lived moment. It smells clean and it burns the nostrils. A contradictory odour of sanitised void and that of the disappearance of filth.

I am still breathing but this time, I try to slow down the rhytm, to use my mouth in order to evacuate the smell which becomes more and more pungent and acidic.

The odourous powder is lying on the ground; the floor embraces the whitish droplets. One could think of a simple mess. A few crushed boxes would have left their remains.

But the mass strangely animates itself. While being motionless, it gains in expansion. I contemplate spindrift forming on an awakening sea; privileged view over a landscape of animated dust.

I imagine my body sliding in, letting itself rock by the ceaseless movement of this sea of soap. I hear the sound of the powder crushing under my weight, releasing lingering scents.

There is laundry detergent on the floor.

Dispersed on the wall, several small rectagles hang around one another. Minute portraits demanding the approach of the body and the gaze. I squint my eyes. I search for the path to follow before going any further in the space. I walk along the walls, cautious not to disturb the powdery organisation caressing the floor.

Here I am, knees bent, contemplating these little pieces of nothingness. Photographs of intimate objects, remnants found in drying machine filters, centred and flattened like pieces of evidence, curiosities or relics. I know them. They know me. We have been seeing each other quite frequently. I want to see them, all of them. I want to identify and name them. I accelerate my paste telling myself I could come back later. For now, I need to seize them with my gaze.

I search for a narrative but no story constructs itself. The images follow one another. Alone and grouped, faded and alive. Their colours speak to me, speak to each other and echo one another. I hang on to them.

All of this appears to be familiar. Although, they are not my little pieces of intimacy. They have been an integral part of the other. Which one? How did this multitude end up all the way here?

I no longer search for stories, I contemplate an accumulation of objects in the margin, the inventoried remains left aside by many others.

I furtively slide my hand in my pants pocket, searching for a small ball of lint, a piece of crumbled paper or a hairpin which would belong to me.