Célia Hay

Born in 1991, lives and works in London


Célia Hay has a great understanding of images whether photographic or cinematographic in nature. Thus, she has perfectly mastered their capture as well as their restitution and the way in which she handles them accentuates their spectral characteristics. A graduate of the École Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Marseille Méditerranée, Marseille and of Central Saint Martins, London, the young artist approaches filming as an experimental or even transcendental experience, during which her own physical engagement is on par with the demands she makes of her characters, actors and friends. Together, they truly experience and question each image, its stakes as well as the process of its recording. These sessions, therefore recall rituals but also rambling walks towards the source of the river Thames, wanderings and meetings with the ghosts of Osaka or collective processions. The language of disappearance, murmured behind closed doors or set in insular territories, is another recurring theme. Her film shoots, seem to meet the same criteria as certain secret ceremonies, the difference being that they are led solely by empiricism, and in this case, it is the camera or the camera-body that has surrendered to a vaudouspell. Here, we are reminded of Jacques Tourneur’s classic genre film Vaudou, garishly renamed by Hollywood, I walked with a Zombie.

Célia Hay’s cinema is close to the essay (of genres), its language is neither fictional nor real. In this sense, it acts as a self-reflective cinema for which the experience of filming is in the end already the subject. This is reflected in The Procession of Disappearance, in which we discover the island as a semantic field in its own right, as the subject of a procession that transfers (in the psychoanalytic sense of the term) disappearance to the continuity of the island of Gozo located in the archipelago of Malta in the Mediterranean[1]. New mythologies are then drawn out on individual and collective levels, poetic rather than dogmatic, the chosen format (digitized 8 mm film or high definition video) maintains a fetishized relationship to moving images, those of yesterday and of today.


furiosa, July 2019

[1]Made in collaboration with Pearlie Frisch, Maria de la O Garrido, Lena Heubusch, Candice Japiassu et Stephanie Sant during a residency at Spaziu Kreattiv.