The triggering event that spurred Marta to make her first "Weaving Shadows" installation was the invitation of Gallerist Céline Moine to one of her "Carte Blanches" in Lyon. Céline invited Marta to choose an original artwork from Laurent Giros' flabbergasting collection (Ancient, Modern and Contemporary art) and to make an installation resonating with the selected artwork. Marta decided to work starting from a small engraving by the Japanese master of mezzotint Yozo Hamaguchi depicting a 4x4 cm white-on-black tree leaf that emerges from darkness.
As Nijhuis stated apropos of her first encounter with this small masterpiece, "this drawing has to be concealed in order to be seen. [...] In a box, behind a tiny peeping-through-hole. And once our concupiscent voyeur eye will come close to the hole, we shall completely immerge in the microscopic forest of its ribs and we will eventually see the immense universe that agitates in them – invisible, yet palpable, for vision does not limit itself to sight: indeed, it touches, it feels, it listens.
Marta hid the engraving in a small illuminated box featuring a hole big enough for the eye to peep through it.
The installation then develops in an intertwining of light and shadow. A mobile sculpture is suspended in the middle of the room. The sculpture is woven out of a 3D pen and is 2m wide, but it can still be developed to a larger size. A 3D pen is a small device melting plastics at 180°C. Once extruded, the plastics rapidly cools down and hardens. It is a very laborious and meticulous technique that resembles at once embroidery and drawing.
The floating sculpture (partly coloured, partly black, as if the colours were light rays springing out of the dark as its secret voice) casts a shadow on two opposite walls, which I both enrobed in a huge painting on fabric depicting a black and white forest. The two walls bear each a painting featuring two layers of transparent fabric, which gives the artwork an effect of perspective and depth.
Illuminated dry leaves lay on the ground under the box containing the Hamaguchi, like the promise of life that death brings along.
As the visitor winds through the installation, which is scented with a delicate mix of essential oils, they are invited to taste an edible white flower. Sight, taste, smell are all involved in the experience.
The visitor's shadow becomes part of the picture, and the shadow of the sculpture is projected on their moving body, introducing a sense of uncanniness, as the physical features are deformed by the shadow in the most extraordinary ways. During the exhibition Marta took "shadow portraits" of the visitors willing to be photographed, and put together an album featuring about 150 portraits, which, together, compose a visual research on the theme of deformation, and raise the topic of identity and recognition.
The whole artwork is a journey in the universe of shadow meant as negative light, proto-image, form and deformation, double, Other, Other that I am, Other that inhabits me, Other that follows me, prolongs me, haunts me — a source of uncanniness, of fairy dreams always in the imminence of becoming nightmares.