L'écume des jours
l’écume des jours is Andrea Wolfensberger's ninth solo exhibition at Galerie Bob Gysin. The title was inspired by the eponymous novel of 1947 written by French polymath, Boris Vian (1920-1959), translated as either 'Froth on the Daydream', 'Foam of the Daze', or 'Spray of the Days'.
L'écume des jours evokes images and impressions rising to the surface where they form tiny bubbles that reflect the world until they burst. Brief and fleeting moments that will never return. How can they be recorded, how can one remember them?
These are some of the questions addressed in Wolfensberger's most recent works, in which she also continues to work with sound. By contrast to her earlier works concerned with human acoustics, her focus this time is on the voices of songbirds captured in Central Europe from the 1960s until the 1980s by a scientific pre-digital recording system. The graphs produced by the sonagramme or sound-spectrogramme represent birds that have been disappearing from our latitudes. Wolfensberger's drawings transform the graphs into something akin to musical scores written in a familiar-looking yet barely decipherable notation system. The signs might also be compared to Far-Eastern calligraphy. As they bring content and visual idiom together, the 'scores' as such lend ambiguity to the drawings. We wonder if they are abstract works of art, or characters from some obscure alphabet. Whichever way we interpret these works, their creator has returned to an earlier interest, in particular to vast murmurations of starlings, which she recorded on video in the 1990s.
Wolfensberger has taken her earlier 'Sound Fields' further, again transforming the acoustic medium of sound into the visual, tactile medium of sculpture. Two-dimensional recording graphs of ephemeral sound waves are given three-dimensional shape. Her recent glossy wall-mounted works evoke air bubbles that rise up through water to form small foam patches on the surface. In these new pieces, acoustic concerns recede into the background while our attention is drawn to the sensuous 'interference colours' of the bubbles and the immediate present that is reflected in their glossy paint and keeps changing as we move about the gallery.
In her 1990s videos, Wolfensberger poured diluted raspberry juice into round drinking glasses with the effect that the landscape seen through them not only turned pink but also 'upside down', while in her 1980s 'bowls', she played with reflections and changes in light. The foam – écume series with its intersecting, concave 'bubbles' that turn reflected objects on their head is an amalgamation of Wolfensberger's visual concerns and experiments.
Biography Andreas Wolfensberger