Nicole Franchy

Mapping internal migration flows in Peru (Ruricancho, 2011), the urban growth of Chinese cities in the Pearl River Delta (Satellite Cities, 2008) or a personal experience of urban motions (You and Eye, 2012), the visual artist Nicole Franchy focuses on the movements of people, objects and ideas, and how these shape contemporary societies. Using diverse strategies and techniques, she analyzes mobility as a complex condition that not only implies the transfer of cultural meanings but also its conception. In “Boundary / Lugar desconocido” Franchy continues this exploration, departing from a vast archive of used postcards and the book Two Years in Peru, written by the explorer Thomas J. Hutchinson in 1878. Her compositions that juxtapose postcards with divergent landscapes, dislocate and relocate places associatively, contradicting any geographical logic. There is neither south nor west, only a visual area of tension that on the one hand questions the modernist and nationalist discourses of the travel imaginaries presented by the postcards; and on the other, proposes a new cartography, one that is associative, fragmentary and, as such, critical. Whether in the shape of a grid or a panorama, Franchy's maps disorient and confuse, evoking questions about the relations between identity, nationality, memory and places.

Based on Hutchinson's book, the work "name" is the counterpoint of the exhibition. An installation composed of metal elements, it presents a formal exploration of a drawing of a Chan Chan motive made by the English explorer. Franchy appropriates the image, producing a sculpturic landscape of lines, shapes and reflection - a reference to kinetic art. Transcribed and framed on the wall, Hutchinson's text is but a reminescence of the book, just as the image dissolves in the play of light. As such Franchy stages a process of continuous transformation, opening the complex field of travel and translation.

Laurens Dhaenens