Paradise Fallen is a cycle of work that includes photographic, paper-based, performative and video components.
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.
Blaxis inlcuded collaborations with The Wretched and BLKJKS, who performed improvised sonic interventions or live scores to the installation
Initiated in 2016 on a residency at Cité des Arts on ‘île de la Réunion, Paradise Fallen continued while working through the residency and Academy programs at the RAW Material Company on the peninsula city of Dakar, Senegal in 2017 and 2018.
Paradise Fallen explores conceptual and geographic ambiguities of islands, as they offer
The work plays with narratives that float on the Indian and Atlantic Oceans as personal, emotive, historical and political registers that are courted, teased and provoked.
The body of work includes:
• 3 x videos – one large scale projection, one sculptural 6 channel work and one single channel monitor piece
• 2 x large scale drawings (140 x 140 and 140 x 5m)
• 1 x printed stack of photo litho plates.
The work was initially screened in an abbreviated form in Dakar, Senegal, and thereafter it was installed much more elaborately once in Johannesburg at fem of colour, a multi-discipline platform for engagement
in Newtown, and most recently at the Serendipity Arts festival in Goa, India.
In this cycle of work the land, the city, the landscape and the ocean become more than geographic features, they exceed the limits of location or even the specificity of
The ocean in
The ocean suggests a figure, device, character and narrative that has fixated poets and novelists, from Homer to Conrad to Césaire. It is a figure vast, undefinable and provides the first material substance for linking continents and people across the globe.
In this scholarship of the ocean, the Island emerges as a figure crucial to consider. From Daniel
The island is important as it connects and lays the ground for the exorcism of dreams, desires and fantasies.
Paradise Fallen explores these ideas in a way that pushes the island into