Interview with Elisabeth Daynès: "Find Yourself" in the city of the future

On the occasion of her stay in San Francisco for the opening the 3rd of October of her new exhibition, "Find Yourself", at the 836M Gallery, French plastician artist Elisabeth Daynès kindly answered our questions on the meaning of her work and its symbolic in a city like San Francisco. "Find Yourself" will be open to all, from October 3rd to February 6th, at the 836M Gallery, 836 Montgomery Street, San Francisco.

After-Tomorrow: Why did you choose San Francisco, on the edge of technological progress taking us further away into the evolution, to expose your work about our origins?

Elisabeth Daynès: I discovered San Francisco through Alfred Hitchcock’s classic picture Vertigo. In the film, Madeleine is introduced to the Big Basin Woods by her lover Scotti. There she discovers the redwoods, with one huge tree trunk baring its rings and striations for all to see. These rings and striations represent years, and in these rings Madeline indicates the years of her birth and death. Time is engraved in these redwoods; it is a journey through our origins, an interrogation of identity which echoes my own quest on origins. San Francisco is a city overflowing with vibrant energies and natural forces coming from the earth and the ocean. It is at once a city of hyper-modernity and one with vertiginous temporality.

AT: What does your work on the history of our species tells us about its future?

ED: I can’t predict anything about the future… What I see in my work is mankind’s incredible capacity for adaptation in its milieu and the huge potential embedded in its evolution. Metamorphosis does exist in the history of mankind. I have learnt to meditate on time. Scientists work with a millions of years’ time scales.

AT: You seem to emphasize how nature and time have shaped our appearance. Do you think technology will, at some point, do the same?

ED: Yes, but that time is already here. This is what I am trying to show with “Soul in the shell”, the idea of a sort of ready-made, sealed lips on display, the “facial-shopping” which enables us to choose our faces. But as an artist I keep a critical stance. With “Trash” I hope to show what meanings we can give this hyper technology.

AT: What would your after tomorrow look like?

ED: After Tomorrow, I will be going in search of a woman who will herself be in a quest because she is facing her reflection. She’ll be dreaming of herself transformed because of all the existing technologies. I have a deep desire to sculpt her, and I am already thinking of a model. This will be my next hyper-realistic sculpture which will complete the 3 other hyper-realistic ones that are currently on show at the 836m gallery in San Francisco.

After Tomorrow warmly thanks Elisabeth Daynès for her answers and wishes her the best for her exhibition in San Francisco.

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