The eye darts to and fro, forgets itself, is dazzled until it waters in response to the vibrations of the mysterious laminae which densely overlap on the broad tapestries of Hanah Willmott. But the eye also lingers, wonders: what are these small iridescent elements, which, according to composition, recall sometimes a mosaic pavement, protective amulets, the fleshy dunes of a desert seen from the sky, or the Mediterranean waters, stormy and tormented? What material has such a manifold evocative power?
Hanah Willmott's work is, above all, that of transformation. That of domestic waste, a strange, raw material of the ultra-contemporary: the coffee capsule. It is on these seemingly mundane objects, consumable and quickly forgotten, that the artist chose to linger, by reversing the cycle of fast consumption of this drink of everyday life: from purchase, mundanity, use, oblivion - to reclaim, repurpose, cherish. Ultimate recycling.
Removed from the bowels of the machines where they otherwise remain forgotten after use, they are shaped according to a precise methodology: one by one, the artist empties them, skins them, cuts and flattens them, sometimes paints them - and emerging from this meticulous work - which is reminiscent of a fisherman with his catches - metallic scales appear and slowly accumulate. They are then sewn onto large pieces of fabric and, taking advantage of their fall, their warp and weft, add a luminous rustle, a heavy breath: through the seemingly insensible capsules, Hanah Willmott brings life to the textile.
Floating above the ground, a little in front of the wall, these hybrid surfaces, between painting and sculpture, seem to hark back to ancient times, and carry in their luminous dilations a tribute to needlework, whose history is closely associated with women. Alternatives to waste that are close to alchemy, these creations all in indolence also trace of their elaboration process: they are generous, charged, acting. Their existence recalls that silent creature of the last verses of the Coral Reef of José-Maria de Heredia (1893):
Quenching his scales that are fiery enamels
Comes a big fish moving clean through the branches,
Lazily browses in shady transparence
Suddenly whisking his fin pyrotechnic,
Makes the blue motionless lack-lustre crystal
Thrill to the pearl-gleam, the gold, the smaragdine