Louise Marchal – anticlockwise
Since her M.A in Fine Art (Sunderland 2005-7), Louise’s work has been playing with the concepts of mans’ freewill in time and space against ideas of determinism and chaos. Her earlier education being largely theoretical, her work interweaves many themes from History of Art, Philosophy and English Literature, the subject which she took to Honours (University of Glasgow 1995). Louise also studied Philosophy, (Leeds University SCE 2003-4). Studying medieval quest poetry and Renaissance pastoral led her to the developing dichotomies of linear and cyclic perceptions of time and mans progression through it, (the linear quest and the cyclic pastoral).
The cycle of the ant in repeatedly circling “backwards” on the concrete was evocative of this progression, of both invisible circle and line. It is an unedited documentary film of an anomaly in nature, but one which connotes visual significance in terms of human symbolism. The ant’s backwards progression is only backwards because we think of clockwise as forwards through time. Louise’s work over the past five years has dealt with an (often playful) enquiry into the existence of man within various visual languages and systems of signs, often mixing and morphing samples of images from electronic games, mathematical and geometric concepts with random and chance doodles. The Nintendo game character Donkey Kong Jr. became a leitmotif for her paintings and screenprints: a metaphor for man’s illusory freewill within a culture of existentialism; a figure who has a type of freedom within a set amount of options dictated by the game (Jump, Up, Left, Right, Down); the little monkey in continual turmoil until the game ends. Like the players in Shakespeare, Stoppard and Pirandello existence has its compass apparently limited to the mortal coil or extension of the play / game. Within such a system of referents, the circling ant became a potent metaphor for time and our place within infinity. What was striking was that this small actant was not a human construct (as time, space, Donkey Kong Jr., The Tempest and all measurement is) but existed unedited as an extraordinary piece of natural phenomenon that could be inserted into this system of signs.
Anticlockwise was first exhibited within Louise’s installation of artist books, Further Reading at The Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle in 2007. It was not played in the space, but existed as saved data to be borrowed along with a book entitled Measure. The concept of the installation was for the books to be borrowed from the library, to exit the site of the installation but to exist, conceptually as a whole, a library. The book focussed on the measurement of Time and Space as man’s attempt to quantify chaos. Measure featured images from graph paper, musical score, photographs and marbled paper to illustrate the frames with which we attempt to measure the universe. Anticlockwise also featured as a film loop alongside the books, within her solo show Play|> Pause|| at The Fishmarket Gallery, in Northampton in 2008 (pictured).
Louise currently works as an artist in Patrick Studios, ESA, Leeds and is co-curator of Trans=Send / Transmit, a mail and radio exchange project between artists in Leeds and Sunderland based at Holy Trinity, Leeds / Holy Trinity Sunderland.
Installation View, Play |> Pause || , The Fishmarket Gallery, Northampton (2008)
Measure artist book, part of Further Reading, The Lit & Phil, Newcastle, (2007)