Laura Lamiel’s studio is surrounded by bamboo trees that filter the light coming into the main room. Inside, big white roller blinds filter it even more. Yet it is not dark at all; only what seems to be the perfect amount of daylight is tolerated.
The artist’s relationship with light is a complex one: “It was me or her,” she says when referring to the incredible daylight that falls from the glass ceiling in La Verrière Hermès, in Brussels. She therefore had the roof windows covered with a filtering material for “Chambres de Capture,” her first exhibition in Belgium.
The show was conceived especially for the gallery and, as curator Guillaume Désanges puts it, is “a tensile response to the space of La Verrière as a whole.” But the title is plural — there are several chambers — and what strikes the viewer is the multiplicity of individual spaces that create this global installation. Lamiel refers to these “cells” as “mental processes”: each is a piece of a broader discourse. And while their generic title refers to entrapment, they look more like open spaces, seeking interaction and exchange.
The exhibition shows the broad variety of materials used by Lamiel, such as copper, paper, enameled steel and textiles. A few years ago she started working with neon; one of the most interesting pieces in La Verrière is an open “cell” in which white light creates a perfect unity between the walls and the objects they surround, all of them white. To create these spaces, the artist always engages with them at full scale. In her studio, two “cells” are under construction. They will soon join the Lyon Biennale where they will interact with a totally different kind of space — the rooms of the Musée d’art contemporain — where, this time, it will be dark inside.
by Pierre-Yves Desaive