The scholarship of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for female media artists 2017 was awarded to Pauline M’Barek.
Members of the three-person jury were Dr. Inke Arns (Director of HMKV Hartware MedienKunstverein, Dortmund), Thomas Thiel (Director of Kunstverein Bielefeld) and Céline Berger (artist and NRW Media Art Scholarship Holder 2015). The jury selected the scholarship holder from 62 applications.
The artist Pauline M’barek, who was born in Cologne in 1979 and lives there, deals with fundamental questions of human perception in her multimedia performances. The subject of her video and audio installations, sculptures, drawings are media of perception (vitrine, holders) as well as the senses themselves. The interactions of seeing, hearing and touching preoccupy the artist as much as the significance of corporeality for human perception. In the continuous intersection of objective and subjective perspectives, M’barek relativises our awareness of the world. In her video Semiophoren (2013), for example, black, ethnological objects only become visible to the viewer through gestures of contact with white gloves due to a black image background. In contrast, the series of works Artifacts (2014) shows individual forms of touch as the artist reproduces individual hand movements in foreign-seeming artefacts made of alabaster plaster. As a consequence of the various translations of tactile experience, the artist also dealt with the possible touches of the eye and a materiality of seeing in her video Glance (2014) or the photograph Selbstporträt nach Ernst Mach (2014).
Her new project named Glance – the body in view, to be realised within the scolarship of the 2017 scholarship of the state of NRW for a media artist, will continue these artistic investigations into seeing as a tactile process. The production of a video is planned, which will tie in with findings from earlier works and focus on the body as the actual medium of perception. This time the artist wants to capture the viewer’s subjective gaze under professional conditions with macro shots of the pupil and at simultaneously use them as a mirror of an architectural environment and physical movement in space. Since the pupil also reflects the body (nose, hands, legs, etc.), we will explore a space that is unfamiliar to us through the eyes of an other person in the video and follow the minimal movement sequences of a rehearsed performance. In this way, a “second-order observation” or a slow “groping with the gaze” (Merleau-Ponty) is created in the Luhmannian sense – thanks to a natural distorting mirror, the glance in the gaze.
Pauline M‘barek (*1979 in Cologne) lives and works in Brussels and Cologne, studied fine arts at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg (2000-2007), École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Marseille (2003-2004) and finally postgraduate media art at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne (2007-2009). The jury is impressed by this medially diverse and still very focused artist, who can already point to a very autonomous portfolio of work and numerous important awards.
Further information on the artist’s website