After a summer exhibition for which Maria Loboda created sculptures and staged a performance in which she had a controversial historical figure appear as a trompe l’œil, artist Elise Corpataux came to Atelier Amden on Christmas Day to show a painting from her Date Paintings series. The exhibition was set up, opened, closed and taken down all on the same day. While most of the projects shown at Atelier Amden since 1999 have been site-specific, there have also been several exhibitions, among them this project, that turn on the act of exhibiting itself. The creators of these shows have invited visitors to partake in their attempt to visualize the experience of momentariness at once as both work and exhibition.
Over the past two years, Elise Corpataux has created paintings whose motifs are painted numbers, in some cases depicted like the pages of a calendar. Alongside these the artist painted numerous images of sunrises and sunsets that she has encountered on Instagram. During a stay in Delphi in 2019, her daily routine entailed rising before the sun was up in order to consciously experience the break of day. The numbers on her paintings in most cases reference the day and month of the opening of the exhibition for which they were painted. Unlike the austerely conceptual Date Paintings of artists such as Hanne Darboven and On Kawara, which on the visual level turn on the theme of time as an open-ended sequence of indeterminate length, Corpataux is concerned with the role played by repetition in our perception of time. As she notes only the day and the month, but never the year, both past and future are inscribed in her paintings even at their unveiling. The eternal return may be a topos that generates very little interest as such, but in Elise Corpataux’s Date Paintings the cyclical apprehension of time is firmly embedded in a finely crafted painting full of iconographic allusions, which like every painted surface is designed to be taken in all at once. After all, painting is a silent art, our experience of which is visual. What it says to us cannot be translated into language, but at best only paraphrased. The Date Paintings cannot, therefore, be recounted, even if the painted digits specify a concrete date. The exhibition by Elise Corpataux at Atelier Amden was conceived for one day only and was experienced as such, even if, when contemplating the canvas, we realize that the numbers painted on it might equally well refer to a day and a month in the past, or even in the distant future.
Elise Corpataux was born in Fribourg in 1994 and after gaining a Bachelor of Arts at the ECAL in Lausanne did her Master’s at the Institute Art Gender Nature / FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. In 2021 she was awarded a Bourse culturelle grant by the Fondation Leenaards.
– Roman Kurzmeyer