For this project, De Val puts forward a reflection on the relationship between ruins and memory, or their immediate association. The fundamental idea of the project is to talk about a “place” via its ruins as a metaphor for memory and history.
“The contemplation of ruins lets us briefly glimpse the existence of a time which is not the time about which History books talk or which restorations try to revive. It is a pure time, to which no date may be assigned, not present in our world of images, shams and reconstitutions, and is not placed in our violent world, a world whose rubble which, short of time, can no longer become ruins. This is a lost time whose recovery is the duty of art.”
The ultimate goal consists in rescuing these ruins as places whose state of neglect lends added value. It is as if this emphasizes the passing of time, as if that time, due to some reason that De Val tries to unveil, would have been less merciful and would have left a different mark. Places in which forms metamorphose, and on observing them, the viewer is shifted in time. To observe the ruins is to feel the experience of time, each person their own, the thousands of journeys.
Human-like monsters sprout in the landscapes of De Val, masked, hieratic like a scarecrow. Characters from the present who tread places from the past. They hide their features from us like actors in a Greek tragedy. They play hide-and-seek with the spectator, calling us to cross the line.
This series is, ultimately, a look at time, at memory, and at the artist’s memory. Just as the French anthropologist Marc Augé remarks: “ruins are a statement of truth and, paradoxically, of life.”
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