Tim Ingold reminds us that so-called classical anthropology considers perception of the environment to be a culturally constructed way of regarding nature. Before beginning his analysis, the anthropologist reconsiders both this historical definition but also the notions that underly the term “environment”. First off [it] is a relative term – that is, relating to the being for which it is an environment. In the same way that there can be no organism without an environment, there can be no environment without an organism[1]. He then returns to a notion that assembles the two theories, and which he names organismenvironment, which he considers as an indivisible totality, stating that the latter is not a limited entity but a process in real time, in constant growth and development. It seems that this concept resonates particularly well with the work of Mountaincutters whose name, both plural and anonymous, comes from the contraction of mountain and cutters and symbolises the meeting between geology, landscape, action and the gesture of the hand. Mountaincutters is a hybrid entity, that graduated from the École Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Marseille Méditerranée, Marseille and is based in Brussels. Since 2013, she has been acting as a full-fledged artistic organism-environment, developing mainly site-specific projects through various contamination processes. Her work often takes the form of ephemeral modules, active the time of the exhibition whose components are made from unprocessed raw materials such as iron, steel, clay, copper, lead, paper or glass. Some will then be reworked and will reappear during the development of future installations. By encapsulating these past, or in some cases, surviving materialisations, Mountaincutters eliminates any form of capitalization and fetishization of the object and inserts herself into a perpetual present. The archival process is almost non-existent, it does however occur in the form of digitalized analogical photographs and of sculptures also named incomplete objects[2], which are composed of those residues that resist the dismounting of past installations. Thus, these devices seem to imprint and reveal themselves while fading away. A process similar to that initiated by Richard Serra during the development of Hand Catching Lead[3], starting in 1971. In this film, the lead sheets that the American artist tries to catch gradually imprint on his hand until it is entirely covered, while the cine film progressively disappears as it is being watched.


furiosa, July 2019

[1]Tim Ingold, [texte à déterminer]

[2]The incomplete objects (objets incomplets) are sculptures that survive the dismounting of the installations and which refer to their origins through their names e.g., Objet Incomplet II, (SPOLIA).

[3]Richard Serra, Hand Catching Lead, 1971, 16 mm black and white Film, silent, part of the Pompidou Centre Collection, Paris.