Mathilde Heu

"In a Nutshell, (Que faire?)", pencil on paper, 5 m x 1.50 m, 2019.

Forms appear, she writes of the process of drawing the palms: wings, leaves, flints. The same might be said of "Que faire? [In a Nutshell]". Using a laser scanner, Heu produced a 3D rendering of a walnut, and then translated this scan into a drawing five metres across. Forms appear, yes, but as quickly disappear, and to commit these to words—to say this palm looks like a wing, this nutshell like a rock face, a churning sea—feels banal, like reciting a dream upon waking. Which seems the point: Heu is less interested in analogy, in drawing equivalences, than in those moments when we lose the sense of what we’re looking at, when we’re overwhelmed by what things could be.

Kit Webb

"A dance of Scale", at the Assembly Point, London (UK), 2019.
Making of "In a Nutshell" (que faire?)", Studio, 2019.
"In a Nutshell (Que faire?), pencil on paper, 5 m x 1.50 m, 2019.

Epicentre, interactive sound installation, mild steel and bone transducers, 3m x 3m x 3m, 2018

I’m not sure how best to approach it, though I’m instructed, Kneel, and raise your elbows, position them on the coin-shaped recesses of the cube you’ve fallen before, press your palms against your ears. It’s a commonplace to vaunt art’s power to prostrate us; rarer, in my experience, for an installation to bring us to our knees. Cubes in the gallery—arranged as mirrors, or cast in hot-rolled steel, six foot by six foot—were used by mid-century minimalists (Robert Morris, Tony Smith) to play our bodies back to us, whether glanced in glass, or figured in the dimensions of oiled metal.

This feels different; not only because I can almost rest my cheek on steel, not only because I am urged to touch.The cube is tilted, sliced away so as to seem part-sunk into the floor; lanced through with harpoon-axes (marking x , y , z ). Leaning forward in this elbow-embrace, with the room’s sounds muffled, my body is made conduit, a message channelled through my bones.

Between my palms, through my skull, icebergs scrape the ocean floor, volcanoes burble underwater; another world,alien, inscrutable, sounds closed within this frame. An epicentre is not the focus or fulcrum of activity, but above it; the point on the earth’s surface under which the ground shivers. ‘Epicentre’ decentres us: it makes the origin, the zero-point—where x , y , z meet at O — unreachable, unknowable; the cube’s slant sets us and our world off-kilter. We are held outside, fixed to an edge; the work asks us to lean, to fall, so it might enter us instead.

Kit Webb

Research around "Epicentre"

Black Boxes, Series of three pencil drawings, A3 (each), 2017
Black Box, etching, A3, 2017
Micro-Worlds, etching and aquatinte, A3, 2017



Special thanks to Ian Whittaker for the welding!

Intervalle Arrêté, charcoal on paper, 10m x 1.50m, 2016

Inspired from the mathematical notion interval, Intervalle Arrêté is an attempt to witness the time of drawing within a given frame.

Intervalle Arrêté, detail, 2016
Intervalle Arrêté, process  2016

Shirt of Serendipity, charcoal imprint, on paper, 2.10 m x 2.60 m, 2015

Detail, 2015.
Research, moment of serendipity at the studio, charcoal rubbing on paper, 2015.
Pattern making, 2015.
Rubbing reveal, 2015.

Imago, Installation, charcoal on paper, 1.74 m x 2.7 m each, 2014

Pareidolia, Installation, charcoal on paper, 17.50 m x 2.60 m, 2014

“Pareidolia” is a 17 meter long installation of charcoal drawings which explore the notion of pareidolia which the tendency for the incorrect interpretation of a stimulus as an object or pattern known to the observer (such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in nature or abstract patterns).

Pareidolia, Installation, charcoal on paper, 17.50 m x 2.60 m, 2014
Exhibition in Halles USEGO, Sierre (CH), 2014.
D'un monde à l'autre, Halles de Porrentruy, 2015.

Root I, Installation, pencil drawing, A4, 2014

Root II, pencil drawing, A4, 2014

Leaves, pencil drawing, A4, 2014

Paumes,  pencil drawings, A4, 2014

Facing Mathilde Heu’s series of drawn palms—slivers of her right hand; her fingers, wrist, the ball of her thumb cropped by the white of the page—figured from one angle and then another and another,I try to think about what’s revealed in this reiteration. Heu isn’t, I think, looking to them for meaning(not that they’d yield it), isn’t searching for something in them, isn’t “digging” towards some profundity.Instead—and this seems to me a common move in her practice—she trains in on the small, the close at hand, and then returns to it, aware of each approach’s contingency, its glancing of significance. Her interest is as much in the texture of these surfaces as it is in the affects of attention—what happens,what’s felt, when you return and repeat, through the hours spent in detail?

Forms appear, she writes of the process of drawing the palms: wings, leaves, flints.

Kit Webb

Palms, pencil drawing, A4, 2014.
Palms, exhibition "A Dance of Scale", London (UK), 2019.
Paumes,  ceramics, 2014.

Girls just wanna, Sound Installation, apples piezzos and amplifier, 2015

Girls Just Wanna is a sound installation where a number of apples connected to an amplifier produce a discrete sound of female voices chatting, singing or murmuring. Each apple contains a piezo through which the sound is heard. Passers by are invited to kneel and listen to stories relating the desire to devour and be devoured by the loved one.    

In collaboration with Sofia Kouloukouri / Julie Magnenat and Amandine Vaccaielli.

Photos: Rudy Decelière

Copyright © 2020 Mathilde Heu Studio. All rights reserved.