Testimony – Odile Bouhier

Odile Bouhier, Testimony about Mathilde de l’Ecotais

Odile Bouhier, Testimony about Mathilde de l’Ecotais

‘The autodidact Mathilde de l’Ecotais is not afraid to review imposed values. With this artist, something moves in the air, energies get released. The piercing eye, the smouldering look, when she immortalises the Los Angeles gangs, the daily life of Indonesian Papuans, the Pierre Puget architecture in Marseilles, she depicts them without fear. This woman does nothing to please, she has nothing to lose: love, shoot, take photographs, edit images and sounds, take photos as long as images need to come out in the eyes of the others.
In 2001, she met Alain Ducasse and her work took a fundamental turn, it was time to attempt to see farther than what the eyes see, in a bit more sensitive way, backwards and all around: ‘to me, a salmon roe resembles a planet, what is produced by the ground resembles the ground.’ In her work on Food Art, Mathilde de l’Ecotais is not afraid to assume her peculiarity, to go to the end. So she starts the other way round, she takes cuisine out of cuisine. Her literature is her photos, her impressions, sometimes stories, a sort of river. Because this is how she lives, she feels things. It must work.
With this exhibition, her approach does not change: Mathilde de l’Ecotais va encore plus loin, her quest becomes clear. She was carrying inside this ‘Serie noire’ for a long time before accomplishing it. She ponders on the calcination of things, ‘but me, I am towards life…I needed the time to find the matters that speak to me in order to express what I was looking for.’ Form and substance, always. The choice of life and golden lights light utopias. Black without white has several meanings: absence of colours, nostalgia or, on the contrary, a very modern present.
Magic of the artist, whose peculiarity establishes itself with this ‘Serie noire’. It is an impressionist film, with areas of shadow and areas of light. A new start. A rupture in her itinerary. Here, she manages to bring to light all those matt and shiny blacks that coexist and sign. It takes guts to plunge into the atmosphere, go to the end of a game that has no rules in order to look simple. To constantly invent in order to sound in tune, have the insolence of the instinct. As long as she has the right to speech and image, Mathilde de l’Ecotais will fight tooth and nail. ‘I love this idea of constant movement. Not settling down. Dashing forward, renewing oneself. ‘She is right, creation must be subversive, we are the acrobats of a great circus, dust in the torrent. We can only live on the tightrope, without circus net. What Mathilde wants is to juggle with her skin. With all her might. What’s curious is the way in which the game is played: one must not be afraid to run. Mathilde de l’Ecotais is not afraid: the studio, the photo, shoot, shoot. One shot. Always the same and always so different.’
Odile Bouhier

Odile Bouhier, screenwriter, lives in Paris. After ‘Le sang des bistanclaques’, polar revelation 2011, she published ‘De mal à personne’, second investigation of Commissionner Kolvair and professor Salacan, initiators of scientific police.