Valérie Mréjen
François Deladerrière
Géraldine Lay

Topography of the unspeakable

The Chapelle Saint-Jacques, located south-west of Toulouse, is halfway between the rural and urban worlds. From this in-between, two inclinations arise: to observe and to question. The intersecting perspectives of Valérie Mréjen, Géraldine Lay and François Deladerrière emphasise the radiant and the burning; warm breath, biting cold. Their images and words, placed on fragments of territory, give pride of place to that interstice where doubts and questions reside. The story thus exhibited follows the fragile contours of a wait favourable to experimentation. The centre d’art seen as a fiction at the heart of a reality, that of a changing territory.

Between 8 and 11

He had hurried to get there, hoping that the electrician would be on time and would stop by at the beginning of the indicated time slot. It seemed quite appropriate to him that, on the list of accommodations he had to visit on this long autumn morning, the employee working that particular morning on the connecting of electricity meters should start at his address. If things followed in the order he had predicted, he would have time to go shopping at the do-it-yourself department as soon as the man got into his car and started to drive away. He expected to arrive for the opening of the department store to avoid waiting, then come back with his purchases and start working. It seemed necessary to fix a few things before settling in this place that hadn’t been lived in for several weeks. He had been on the spot for half an hour, the time, he thought, for the man at the wheel of his vehicle to cross over a little forest following the winding road whose course looked like the body of a snake, and at the moment he looked at his watch, he had thought of particular place along the way, near the end of the road, where there was an abandoned sawmill: the man had surely gone passed it, and in a minute or so the sound of tyres on gravel would be heard. An employee of the electricity company surely knew all the ways around and would soon be there.
In the entrance to the flat, also entirely empty, he hadn’t found a nail to hang the key and had kept the bunch of keys in his pocket, which reinforced his impression of being ready to leave. Straight after coming through the door, he realized that in the haste of his departure he had forgotten to bring something to read. He went out into the garden after ringing the bell once or twice to be sure it could heard from the outside. He thought that for such a short time it wouldn’t be worth opening the parasol or sitting on a chair. The sky did not indeed incite one to relax, and without the slightest document to consult, even absent-mindedly, such as a free newspaper or a brochure that could have been left there since a month to fill up a hole somewhere, he couldn’t even devote himself to the absurd occupation of studying ads in detail or flyers for take-away restaurants, simply in order to have something to do. In front of the dirty wall, he said to himself that it would have to be painted.
Some children must have been helped by adults to make a cabin, but the objects and toys they had disposed there to imitate domestic life had also disappeared, and there were no more faded baby dolls or buckets half-filled with water, or balls of sponge to knead or bounce: he started to foresee the possibility of waiting a bit longer, or even spending part of the morning wandering from one room to the other just to see that nothing had changed, while overly studying the few signs left by the precedent occupants. He had difficulty in imagining the parties that must have been held there and the evenings by the fire, the groups of people assembled together, friends, undoubtedly, parents, and colleagues. Someone warmed up by alcohol had forgotten his jacket: it had remained hanging far from anyone’s view while its owner kept on asking himself, and this thought must have come across him like a sudden high temperature, where it could very well be. Only the disco ball could have recorded what had happened and remembered the vision of faces that were more or less shining with sweat, the enflamed looks and the last bursts of energy of a little group that kept on dancing in a circle while the other guests had already started to go home. The object posed on the ground seemed to look at him, wondering if it could be used again, once the electricity was put back on. The man didn’t really know what to do with the disco ball. He could have hung it on the ceiling, but he already knew someone who had one at his place and he could imagine the little smile that it would provoke during the first visits of their mutual friends.
But what was that technician doing. It was always the same thing. They indicate a time slot and only arrive at the last minute, when people have lost their patience.

Valérie Mréjen. May 2013
Traduction by Emmelene Landon


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Further reading:
La Chapelle Saint-Jacques
Valérie Mréjen
Géraldine Lay
François Deladerrière