On nuances and other uncatchables.

Andrea Novoa Rodriguez

…ethereal, unexpected, warm, sunlit, is how the afternoon of that day promised to be, in front of a blue gate that augured the South East.
Her smile was welcoming as she opened the door. By way of a welcome, white flowers were also waiting.
Her person1 embodied the work and vice-versa and we felt comfortable from the start. A fluid and sincere exchange about life, about work and its vicissitudes, about an artist’s story and a career that are resolutely emerging, because they deserve it. A story of building that is not without obstacles – as we like them – an exchange, not a monologue.
The conversation turned out to be interesting because the sharing was transparent.
A botched coffee and a successful coffee later we decided – all the same – to talk about “work” even if for us everything is one and the other.
Snippets were placed here and there and we traversed them little by little throughout the conversation. During it, small stories mixed with History in our dialogue because she thinks about universal subjects through a very personal, delicate prism and she indeed touches all of us in this momentum. We spoke, we looked, we touched. Objects, substances, things that intentionally become pieces of art when they translate a concept into a sensitive, artistic, ephemeral object. She holds dear these bits of pieces that have been and that will perhaps be again as they are as pieces of something, ideas that exist in themselves and that make up the work in a precise moment and a particular context, that of the exhibition. This is a soul-hunter and artist of “making”: she too exists in the exhibition space when she inhabits it.
Sometimes positioning herself in retreat, it seems that she is trying to kill the author, to share an authority that she recognises as not entirely belonging to her since her subjects are a common responsibility, political.
Secretly I have thought of an illustrious French semiologist2 , of the significant and the signified, of the writer and the reader, of the work of art and its witnesses, these interpreters who will, inevitably complete it. I have not shared these thoughts since, in any case, it was she who dictated them to me in other words.
She assembles pieces that are like words in her own words that are thinking of Georges Perec3 – deploying a poetic and precise syntax in the exhibition. Therefore, one after the other on our tour come a plaited olive-branch crown she had carefully kept out, a golden balloon4 , today deflated5 (waiting impossibly to come back to life) sheets of paper that are landscapes that are no more6 , postcards7 … All these elements were lain out in her studio and we pored over them without hurrying, punctuating them with experiences they constantly kicked up. Almost nothing, pieces like words, and yet. White flowers8 .

Translated from the French by Matilda Holloway


Andrea Rodriguez Novoa (1979, Spain) is architect, writer and independant curator based in France and Spain. She’s member of IKT, International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art and C-E-A Commissaires d’exposition associés (France).

She develops a cross-disciplinary practice between architecture and curating in the contemporary art network. She’s interested in the capacity of building “exhibition architectures” from a milieu, in terms of urbanism, politics and social and in the relationship between art and architecture as well as in the power of images and fiction in the connexion between art and space.

She lead, manage and teaches at BAR project (www.barproject.net, @barproject), a residency and training program in visuals arts which she founded in Barcelona in 2012. Between 2018 and 2021, she works with Leopold Banchini Architects (www.leopoldbanchini.com) in Geneva. In 2020, she co-founded MIA in Barcelona (Meta-Industrial Architectures, @mia_architectures), an architectural project about energy, environmental, economic and social sustainability.
She curated a lot of curatorial projects with institutions, like Centre Pompidou (Paris), Villa Arson (Nice), Institut français (Barcelona), Casa Velazquez (Madrid), STROOM (The Hague), SOMA Mexico (Mexico City), 40m3 (Rennes), Biennale de Gwangju (South Corea), Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, FRAC Normandie Caen, for exemple.


  1. I met Audrey Martin, a visual artist based in Nîmes, on 28th September 2018.
  2. As the French semiologist and philosopher Roland Barthes brings the omnipresent author to an end in his The
    Rustle of Language (1986, Farrar & Giroux, translated by Richard Howard) and as he talks af a palimpsest love in his A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments (1977, Hill & Wang, translated by Richard Howard) Audrey Martin works the art object like fragments of a global story like a collection of shared ideas that she assembles and that become oeuvre in the exhibition space.
  3. Her work process evokes another writer, French Georges Perec whose work is a succesion of stories combined like pieces of a puzzle, multiplying rules, narratives and semantics.
  4. Thus the reconstitution of a probe-ballon used in weather forecasting - like those we send above the clouds – that she covers in gold serves to question the limits of space and time. (MK2K 2012, Helium filled weather balloon, 60” wide covered with 1400 sheets of white gold). These suspended substances, relying only on the temperamental helium that shapes it refer to the fragility of climate and monetary change.
  5. Once deflated this ephemeral piece (Ruine MK2K 2012, Helium filled weather balloon, 60” wide covered with 1400 sheets of white gold) represents the possible fall of these probes, sometimes traced and retrieved by « probe hunters » who wish to extract the hidden information they might contain. This new pieces similarly acquires a political dimension whilst retaining the poetics of the landscape that its gold-aged surface evokes. The work resists and exists otherwise as an archive of itself, underlining her interest, keener on processes than results. Matter in the making is for Audrey Martin a tool that allows her to not finish her pieces in order that their existence should be more, to avoid her disappearance.
  6. Dé-paysages (2015) thus shows a tentative to remove images of the Baron of Münchhausen landing on the moon with bleach. The passing of time allows a succession of abstract landscapes, that form throughout the 45 minutes it takes the image to disappear, to appear. In the end, a white monochrome surfaces, subliming in reverse our relationship to time and space.
  7. In Global Damages (2013) a series of numbered postcards transcribe simulations of natural disasters that are linked to the impact of a meteorite with Earth. Everyone can modify its scientific givens, modelling their own end of the world on a special website. The series could grow as the exhibitions continue, performing the acceleration and the violence of these catastrophes that is felt in the complete disappearance of the image that here becomes but text.
  8. A corsage that the artist had prepared for the visit reminded me of a bouquet that could be seen on a picture that hung on the studio wall. Torn out from a newspaper this snap showed a moment from the Singapore Summit held for the signing of an agreement between Donald Trump (USA) and Kim Jong-Un (North Korea) on 12th June 2018. In the centre of the image the bouquet became at once decoration and privileged witness to this historic moment. By only keeping from this picture the plant element, null and void, the artist prescinds – because of the absence of the human figure – in the whole force of the term.
    The beginning by the end operated throughout our encounter. The idea of the flowers seems to resume, through its frailness, her process of unstable longevity and through its symbolic force the diverse questions that Audrey Martin raises in her artistic work.