Foam. Identity, memory and mazes in the mind: multiple interpretations Stéphanie Solina’s life

by Martina Fabiani

Translation: Estelle Roijmans and Martina Bertola

Identity might be perceived as the most intimate part of an individual and can never be observed visually because it is seen through a filter. To define someone’s identity, there should be looked at the individual independently. Stéphanie Solinas based her work that was presented in her exhibit Dominique Lambert/”Le Pourquoi Pas?” at Foam in Amsterdam on this concept. It took place from the March 24 until April 16. She is an artist who was born in France in 1978 and shows the identity of people in her photographs with precision. Even if she uses video and music, photography is the most favourite tool by the French artist in her research aimed to the materialization of abstracted concepts as identity, memory or mazes of the mind.

Dominique is the 27th most popular name in France and Lambert is the 27th most used surname. Stéphanie found out that 191 Dominique Lamberts lived in France, so she had contacted them all, asking them to fill in a “Chinese Portrait” (a personality test). Only 20 of the 65 people who had been contacted agreed to participate in the project, and those are included in the exhibition. Three different portraits were made: originals, some based on the answer to the Chinese Portrait test and then pictures of people who looked like the originals. It was not only an interpretation, but there were multiple: a chain of re-interpretations. “I’m interested in the phases of identity as passage, creation and loss of information”, said the artist in a video interview for the Carré d’Art – Musée d’art contemporain de Nimes.

At Foam, the results of the “Chinese Portraits” are displayed along the white hallway, organized before entering the main hall.

“Le Pourquoi Pas?” took place in big hall with night blue walls, blue as the seas that surround the Iceland. This country was an inspiration for Stéphanie’s work.

The informative panels at the exhibition taught us that during Stéphanie’s long stay in Reykjavik she had consulted experts of the mind, and was in contact with the supernatural. In the blue room a series of blue prints and weird objects, as diaries and fingers that are needed to the artist to map the brain reality. Some images created by Stéphanie have similar physiognomy, so it’s possible to trick the brain that it’s Iceland. As is understandable from the title, the goal of this French artist is no proof or not the existence of something supernatural, but to ask questions.


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