Zen Marie’s Paradise Fallen: Blaxis explores the art of landscape cinematography. Through an immersive video installation, the work critically thinks through the camera, and how it alternatively allows or denies the artist to capture the dynamic energy of the land as it changes and evolves.
This exhibition forms the third iteration of Marie’s Paradise Fallen series, which spans more than ten years. The work has been in process since 2010 where it took shape over the course of numerous visits, residencies and appointments at the RAW Material Company in Dakar, Senegal and through residencies and teaching appointments on ‘île de la Réunion.
Importantly this work owes its existence to the people, stories, spirits and memories of these spaces.
The first two iterations focused on footage developed in and around the islands off the peninsula of Dakar. This iteration; Paradise Fallen: Blaxis, is located across the landscapes around the Karoo’s Valley of Desolation and the Maloti-UKhahlamba–Drakensberg Mountain range.
Within Marie’s work, the landscape is proposed as a character that drives narrative, rather than merely just a setting for narratives to occur. The work seeks to challenge prevailing concepts of time, seeking to pay homage to the expansive timelessness of landscapes that have formed over millions of years, while being restricted to cameras that operate within the limitations of linear time and physicality.
The exhibition Paradise Fallen: Blaxis is a meditation on landscapes, using a lens that not only highlights their beauty, but also acknowledges how landscapes are bookmarks or memorials to the history and forgotten narratives that have taken place within them.
The exhibition forms part of the artist’s submission towards a practice-based PhD at the Wits School of Arts.
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Zen Marie, “Valley of Desolation”, 2020, film still, Artist’s collection.