Exhibition 10 October – 30 November 2011

Opening Monday 10 October 2011, from 6 pm to 9 pm

THE 38 WILSON PLATFORM, 38 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris 

Tel +33 (0)1 40 27 08 82 / Cell + 33 (0)6 08 54 57 44.


Silke Schmickl & Nathalie Parienté are pleased to announce their collaboration on HOW WATER, an exhibition project whose different developments will be presented in several steps.

The first part of the exhibition HOW WATER will take place from October 10 to November 30 2011 at Platform 38 Wilson in Paris. It will present two video works by Ismaïl Bahri and Muriel Toulemonde that explore the symbolism of water as a cognitive structure, language and memory.

Muriel Toulemonde (Born in Lille, France in 1970)La Théorie des vagues (The Theory of Waves), 2011

HDV 720p 16:9

Duration: 20’10

Location: Laboratoire de Mécanique des fluides, Nantes, France.

Theory is here understood as a meticulous and attentive observation of the world. Waves are examined behind closed doors in a laboratory of the mechanics of liquids, where everyone  understands them depending on his knowledge, his cultural background, his dreams  or personal stories. The movement of the waves appears like a long promenade.  Perhaps the one of one’s own thoughts?

Ismaïl Bahri (Born in Tunis, Tunisia in 1978)Resonances, 2008

DV, 16:9

Duration: 7’12

Location: Bathroom in his family home in Tunis, Tunisia.

Courtesy: The artist & Galerie des Filles du Calvaire, Paris.

Words, written in Arabic language float in a bathtub and disseminate progressively the time the bathtub empties out. But does the deletion really take place?


Vanishing Point & The Memory of Water

Works by:

Masayo Kajimura – Johanna Reich

Exhibition From July 2nd to July 28th, 2012

By appointment only

Silke Schmickl & Nathalie Parienté are pleased to announce their second presentation of HOW WATER, an exhibition project whose different developments are being presented in several steps.

This second part of the exhibition HOW WATER will take place from July 2nd to July 28th 2012 at Platform 38 Wilson in Paris. It will present works by Masayo Kajimura and Johanna Reich that explore the symbolism of water in its metaphisical dimension: the intimate danger, the drowning, the disappearance, and the memory of water.

Masayo Kajimura (born in Berlin, Germany, 1976, lives and works in Berlin)

Traveling time series: Ahrenshoop #01

DV PAL, colour, no sound, 14’, 2008

Ahrenshoop #01 was shot during the artist’s residence at the artist house Lukas by the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany. Only the sky and the sea of Ahrenshoop can be seen, which the artist filmed for one month every day. The tide, day and night, the moonset; an infinitely repeating process becomes a play of light.

The video series “traveling time series” is an ongoing long-term project, where video sequences are created with images from different places and times collected over the years. Distant spaces and times are interwoven, the far becomes close, the presence dissolves in the flow of images. The movement within the image and timeline is a central theme of this series.

Travelling time series: Outside the sun is shining

DV PAL, colour, stereo, 9’, 2010

Outside the sun is shining is a part of the video series “traveling time series” and was shot at the former Kurhaus (spa hotel) in Ahrenshoop at the Baltic sea in Northern Germany in spring 2008. Formerly a symbol of the corrupt GDR elite, the decayed building was pulled down in 2009, and is now replaced by a new building, a hollow glass construction of neo-capitalism. My view fell onto the empty rooms of the ruin. They were filled with poetry, as if this in-between state of decay had stories and inhabitants of its own. I decided to make these temporary inhabitants of the ruin visible. They are gone now, but what is left is the eternal view: the sea that I saw through the broken windows, which was shining in a warm blue light on this sunny spring day (Masayo Kajimura).

Envelope: Affectionately

DV PAL, colour, stereo, English, 13’53, 2002

What stories do we tell? And how do the stories form us? How do memory and (hi)story constitute our reality? Refering to the legend of the carp who becomes a dragon – a well known story for every child in Japan –, the film moves on to the fishing of the salmon in Lil’wat, a Native Canadian Community. The traditional relationship between the salmon and the people is strongly connected to their unique sense of storytelling. Storytelling here is presented as a vital form of preserving memory, which becomes even more important for a minority surviving in a dominant culture. Parallel in the film, the ritual of wearing the kimono becomes a tool for reconnecting to memories and thus reinventing tradition in the diasporic experience of a Japanese immigrant in Germany. Using dislocated images and voices which overlap the images, the film questions our conception of the „Other“. By connecting different realities and spaces, the film communicates the ambiguity and diversity of reality and perception.

Johanna Reich (born in Minden, Germany in 1977, lives and works in Cologne)

A State of Crystal

DVCPROHD PAL, colour, stereo, 3’20, 2010

The camera lies in a puddle on the ground and films the surroundings and the reflection of the surroundings on the water’s surface. The artist runs towards the camera and jumps into the puddle thus destroying the mirrored image. The camera lying in the water is rotated by 180°. As a result, the image above and not the image below is destroyed at the moment of the jump.

Vanishing Trinity | Am Meer

DV PAL, colour, stereo, 5’10, 2006

Three persons are waiting at the seaside, a small community of three identical women. They simultaneously walk into the water, mechanically entering the sea. Like beeing controlled by an invisible power they straightly walk into the water until they vanish.



An introduction by Nathalie Parienté, July 2011

At a time of frequent tragedies, one following the other with its own stamp, a refrain flows insidiously, creating
drop by drop a new menace, that surrounding water. Dryness, global warming, desertification, and other “wars for water”. The inability of some countries to organize the distribution of clean water or the treatment of used waters, despite the available technologies, the corruption of certain elites as well, an endless list of subjects that are constantly brought up.

Water, which has nourished us, raised us, and cradled us to its gentle music is it henceforth to be our assassin?

Back to the visual. In the film A letter to three wives by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, one of the main characters recalls her life during her marriage and repairs in an almost hypnotic way a tap that is leaky…

Closer to us, a famous swimmer tells us how, as she enters the swimming pool for her morning workout, her dreams of the previous night come back, little by little.

That’s the way we would like to envisage the development of our survey of water, through the prism of certain artists. Their works will emerge progressively as we analyze our theme. Certain aphorisms too. Films, sound pieces and poetry will arise. Starting with Bill Viola. According to him, every single drop houses, if you get closer… the promise of an image.

This is where the images will emerge, in our introduction to the exhibition, much as a reverie towards which we glide.

When Heraclites tells us that “we never swim in the same water of the river”, the element of water is definitely associated to the irreversible passing of time, and to the human condition. From the vital water, the amniotic liquid in which we first swim, continuing through the exchange of fluids as we make love – “Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine et nos amours” (Under the Mirabeau bridge flow the Seine and our loves) – we flow steadily towards a certain death. In short, the promise of a flow, the promise of a fate.

Promise of schizophrenia

In her “portraits” of the Thames, Roni Horn engages herself in a veritable questioning about the material: The hows build up
everywhere, forming a landscape of infinite depth and transparence. Each how takes you one step deeper, beyond appearance, beyond the simple visibility of things.
This is what Bachelard calls “the imagination of the material”, a term that seems to be inspired by the work of Roni Horn. While the impressionists were observing the sparkling of water in order to explore new pictorial paths, Roni Horn is interested in the psychology of water. Roni Horn’s “how is an interrogation about the material itself. No longer about the form that art can take but about its “intrinsic sense. The artist brings to light the essential ambiguity of the British river, its
eminently vivid and pleasant aspect. She also notes the impact of water on urbanism, on people’s lives, on man himself. And she stresses the tragic nature of the river, as during the 19th century people came from all over Europe to drown themselves in it… In sum, the promise of a duality. Of a schizophrenia.

 Promise of life

In Jean Renoir’s film Déjeuner sur l’herbe, moments of eroticism are evoked through close ups of nature and the river. An eminent biologist, the inventor of test-tube babies, who is about to get married, gets seduced during a picnic interrupted by a thunderstorm by a
young peasant who desires a “natural” baby… From now on his vision of the world changes… “Death to science! (À mort la science !)”, he
says at the end of the film, to the pharmaceutical industries that harass him…
Water and nature as a promise of redemption, of the elimination of all the pernicious artifices that are engendered by science and civilization.

Promise of danger and death

Back to the headlines. Fukishima. The end of a meditative and purifying image, the water is radioactive. Bachelard appears again. He writes, “The death of water is more pensive than the death of the earth. The grief of water is infinite”.

In my imaginary museum, water appears, menacing water and its new procession of images: Thierry Kuntzel and his wave, the natural disasters of German artist Sonja Braas.

In reality, this vision of water as a promise of danger goes back even  to the genesis of human thought, to Noah’s Ark. And then much later, The raft of the Medusa. Then the drowning again… of Ophelia…

From politics to poetry

During the so-called contemporary period, from the 1970s on, a reflection on nature as an artistic medium was widely developed, in particular with the Land Art and Arte Povera movements. And when “the attitudes took shape”, photography and then, in particular,
video have contributed to a large extent to the awareness of the poetical and political stakes around water. German artist
Klaus Rinke is an emblematic figure of this poetic commitment.


It is this essential ambiguity that can be found in the element of water that we would like to highlight through How Water.

In the manner of the construction of Rimbaud’s poem The Sleeper in the Valley, we will investigate what lies in the image of water, little by little, as we get closer. Will it be an ever more limpid and vivid image or one that is more and more diluted in the abyss of mystery?

Part 1, 10 October – 30
November 2011: Water and language.

Works by: Ismaïl Bahri and Muriel Toulemonde .

Part 2, June-July 2012: The drowning, the disappearance: Water as an intimate danger.

Part 3, September-October 2012: Geopolitical issues: Water as a collective threat.


The exhibition How Water is a project with a variable geometry, vivid, open andinterdisciplinary.

 Different approaches are considered and suggested to institutions, depending on the space, the nature and philosophy of the place.
Various types of exhibitions can be constructed, ranging from dense presentations to light, fluid but equally pertinent and poetic propositions.

 The trilogy – water and language, water as an intimate danger, water as a collective threat – will be developed and enriched by new thematics such as water and mysticism, water and music…

 As opposed to the 38 WIlSON project, which expands from the notion of intimacy (water as language, as a reflection of the flow of thoughts or writings) through the more open fields of imagination, places of danger, suicide or disappearance, to political and social issues, the exhibition How Water off-gallery could start from a political point of view and grow increasingly abstract and metaphysical.

Silke Schmickl

Silke Schmickl studied Art History, French Literature and Intercultural Communications in Munich and in Paris where she completed her diploma at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) in 2001. She has been a researcher at the German Center for Art History in Paris  since 2000 where she published a book on Thomas Struth’s ‘Museum Photographs'(MSH, 2005).

In 2002, she co-founded the Paris based film label Lowave which she has directed since 2007. She is responsible for the conception and
production of art projects as well as their distribution in partnership with international cultural organizations. Silke also works as an independent curator for international museums and institutions such as Pompidou Center, la Cinémathèque Française, le British Film Institute, Kunst-im-Tunnel Düsseldorf, Museet for Samtidskunst Roskilde and the Guangzhou Triennial. She currently teaches video art at École supérieure d’art et design de Saint-Étienne.

Nathalie Parienté

Art consultant, gallerist and independent curator Nathalie Parienté received her university diploma at École du Louvre and Sotheby’s WOAC. From 1998 to 2005 she curated monographic exhibitions with artists such as Ida Applebroog, Joan Fontcuberta, Barbara and Michael Leisgen, Juan Ugalde and Muriel Toulemonde, as well as retrospective shows dedicated to Arte Povera Torinese at Nathalie
Parienté Gallery.

Since 2005 she specializes on off-gallery exhibitions and founded the 38 WILSON PLATFORM. THE 38 WILSON PLATFORM concentrates on social themes, questions the socio-poetic vocation of the arts and aims to open up traditional exhibition forms.

The 38 WILSON PLATFORM acts like a private gallery as well as a laboratory of experimentation in order to kick off these propositions before developing them in partnership with cultural institutions.


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