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In Gabrielle Le Bayon’s films landscapes, people and myths come together in 'observational', slow moving images that are further combined with voice-over texts from interviews and readings. This dense relationship between image and text creates thought-provoking art works, in which classical, narrative elements are combined with the filmic tradition of the ‘essay film’.
In her film practice, the artist is on the search for patterns and analogies that reach deeper into the surface of the image, into a kind of ‘DNA' of places and emotions. Ancient myths, those of classic Greek as well as pagan ones, are used as poetic tools to unearth the narrative beyond what the eye can see. The intellectual rigour of Le Bayon’s thinking shows her ability to represent complex theoretical and art historical thoughts in simple images.
Le Bayon’s fascination with the subject of mythology (her films ‘Antigone Millennium’ (2012) and ‘Return’ (2014) are both based on classical Greek texts) leads her to explore the history of spiritual and political communities that functioned as an alternative to dominants mode of co-habitation. Myth is central in her work, as any autonomous social structure, which also claims new spiritual believes as their own. Le Bayon’s political subtext is also reflected in and folded into the formal aspect of her films in that they resist the kind of ‘quick-fix’ video aesthetic that has become rampant in the contemporary art world. One can find a political stance in the artist's interest in historical alternative living organisations. In a contemporary consumer-based world, in which homogeneity is a precondition for an efficient market ideology, Le Bayon is exploring historical areas of resistance that could serve as models for thinking about how to live in today’s context differently. Her work highlights a subject that has been largely ignored by contemporary film and video artists, and contributes to the critical discourse of late capitalism.
Maxa Zoller, Art Basel film curator, June 2015