I walked into Robert Berman Gallery unprepared for the mindfuck my brain was about to receive. On the wall to my left was an image of a paper shark, which introduced me to Marc Fichou’s work and his solo exhibition, Contenant Contenu.
Visually, the prints are quite striking. The geometric shapes patterned on the print drew me in, and at first glance looked to be printed on as some sort of design choice by the artist. Upon closer inspection I realized these were actual folds on the paper the image was printed on. These shapes mirror the polygonic structure of the origami shark, and the colors are a match as well, making the work very harmonious. Suddenly it dawns on me that what I am seeing is a photo printed on the very material that is being depicted in the image. Space and matter have collapsed into one another, and my mind is blown.
Fichou does not stop at origami. We are also presented a small sculpture sitting on a wooden panel, the same wooden panel from which it was constructed. We know this because the cut out quadrilateral shapes are seen on the panel, which create a nice arrangement of 2D vs 3D shapes. The negative space of the sculpture is taken and given shape in three dimensions. But the artist goes even further, and gives us a work that does the inverse of this. Mounted on the wall are hexagonal and squared wooden panels, and on them is printed an image of these very same panels constructed into a three-dimensional object. We have now gone three levels deep into the artist’s Inception of a show, but even still he is not done.
At the end of the gallery there lies a small room (a gallery within a gallery? I suppose that fits in with the theme) where the artist’s process culminates into the final layer of his practice. In the center of this small room sits another wooden object. Along the walls of the room we see that parts of the wall have been cut out and have been used to create the sculpture. Standing in this small room, the viewer now becomes part of the work. We are surrounded by the source material for the object, while we ourselves surround the object. We are present in this moment where an absence has made a presence possible. We have entered into the artist’s world. We have become contained.
Words and images by Noé Gaytán