"It's Alive!"

Videos and installations : Bring the monster to life.

In the beginning, Mary Sue committed suicide often for pretend, but also for real. She was just a paper girl in flashy colors. Then she molded her personality as far as to become this simultaneously distinctive and changeable character, whose height and age vary according to the vicissitudes of the moving image. 

Inaction Hero
HD video performance, stereo sound, 14'03", 2022

Sometimes her transformations bring her closer to the reality of life, sometimes closer to the characters in fanzines of which she is clearly the heir. Although Betty Boop’s influence is obvious, Mary Sue no longer belongs to the generation of comic strip heroes and heroines but rather to that of the mangas and of the comikets. (With its barely concealed infantile and sadistic sexuality, Japanese imagery has an undeniable influence on the new heroines). 

"Mary Sue is not a pure video product ; she is the fruit of a hybrid, artisanal practice, driven by the desire to control everything, to leave nothing to chance for the perfect, all-encompassing artifice. A home-made work."

Exhibition view of the video installation,
fiber glass sculptures, high gloss finish, 2005

Each of her appearances begins with a few very precise preliminary drawings that enable the viewer to determine the videogram’s subject. Next comes the work of elaborating the volumes, accessories and costumes that occasionally (beyond the shooting of the film) exist as installations or indeed as sculptures.
Strictly speaking, the shooting of the film is accomplished in a few hours, always within a closed space, and as in fashion photography, in front of a cyclorama backdrop. Each work results from one take of a single fixed shot, with no cutting or editing. The digital recording eliminates any depth of field ; all the shots are sharp, equivalent. The colors and the lighting are balanced. In this way, the image is composed in a very flat way, so that each additional element can be inserted later : décor, character and accessories are made to occupy the same plane, indissociable. Next comes the decisive stage of the work on the computer keyboard. Beginning with a simplified portrait, with a single shot, the scene is constructed by adding computer-generated elements. Mary Sue is thus constantly at the center of the process. This position reflects her relationship to the world.

By definition, the viewer – voyeur – is outside of the frame. For Mary Sue, the whole world is outside of the frame. Her character is the warm center of a convergence, through a high or low angle shot, of the gazes and of the more or less steamy responses that she arouses. Mary Sue’s solitude in the face of the world and of her humors is that of all domestic stars. She has little adventures, accomplishes small feats, experiences small moments of illumination. 

Monter les blancs
Video performance, stereo sound,  2'06", 2001

Sometimes the thread is narrative and recounts a short episode that replays itself over and over, almost mechanically. Sometimes the videogram is founded on a single, simple, moving image, incessantly repeated with no detectable connection. This is how a pseudo-performance is created. By virtue of the continuous loop, each of Mary Sue’s works is virtually unlimited in time. 
Sometimes, the camera’s passage is merely a temporary step and the work once again opens onto a photographic finalization that is always treated in saturated, flat expanses of color. All the sounds are products of mixing ; they are independent of the shot and are added in the same way as the décor is. They are conceived of and adjusted in order to interfere, to be interwoven, in view of a potential installation, in which all the video projections could be presented simultaneously in the same space. In this way, although obviously autonomous, each of these works could find its place within an ensemble. 

Solo exhibition
Video installation view at Noire Gallery, Torino, 2006

The variations in age and attitudes in no way alters Mary Sue’s character. Her behavior hardly changes. She is a brave little girl, not lacking in spunk, who confronts risky situations with admirable valor. Whether she provokes them or simply tolerates them – who is allowed to judge? – she puts up with the unpleasantness with a candor that sometimes arises from a distressing surprise, but most frequently from satisfaction. All the same, we can see that she likes to play at being the schoolgirl, that in her life festive moments are particularly crucial, and that her character’s smug passivity instead conceals something that has been damaged, chipped away. From time to time, she still plays with death, but it is simply to verify whether a fly’s path conforms to Euclid’s laws. 

Whatever the case, she always seems to be pulling your leg, and then hitting you below the belt. 

Video installation, view at Vraoum,
Collective exhibition, Maison Rouge, Paris, 2009

Mary Sue is a game within the game. That is why her character is not really naïve. The fact that she puts herself in the spotlight eliminates any ambiguity about the distanced gaze with which she regards her own condition. From her paper girl period, she retained a taste for saturated colors, a predilection for accessories, for staging and for striking a pose. From her early trials, she came back with this distance that characterizes her generation and our age : her perspective is not serious, instead it is gently acerbic. She doesn’t thrash things about, she pins them down ; she doesn’t denounce things, she is simply satisfied with presenting them to the viewer. 

Hubert Besacier, 2001

Sleepy Beauty 
HD video performance, stereo sound, 14'19", 2022

Exercice de style
Video installation, SD video, stereo sound, mixed media 3'28", 2006

Video performance for flat screen, HD, stereo sound, 8'03", 2017

Olé Olé
SD squared video, HD, stereo sound, 7'50", 2006

SD video 16/9, stereo sound, 2'13", 2002

Saglice / Ken parc
Video installation, SD video, stereo sound,
mixed media with mechanical rabbits, presence detector, 9'31", 2006

Ken parc
(detail) video installation, SD video, stereo sound,
mixed media with mechanical rabbits, presence detector, 9'31", 2006

Le supplice de la bonne élève
Video performance, HD video, stereo sound, 10'26", 2011

Close up
Video performance installation, triptych photo/video, SD video stereo sound, 23'26", continuous duration, 2010

Video performance, SD video, stereo sound, 43'26", 2010

Using Format