Jonathan Martin (b. 1986, Les Lilas) lives and works in Paris and L’Île-Saint-Denis. His work, including film, drawing and zine publishing, often takes a starting point in popular songs, listened at as minimal and stylized vessels for public conversation, secret messages, and what has been called the thrill of mechanical reproduction – as in his films War Whoop (2012), Bleach (2013), and Francilia (2014). He has an exhibition Mithril, with Mimosa Echard (Circonstance, Nice) and The Rings, an exhibition as part of the Modules – Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves St Laurent, at Palais de Tokyo, Paris. He is currently a resident at Le Pavillon Neuflize OBC, research lab of Palais de Tokyo.
A wall of ink drawings, from 2012 up to the eve of the exhibition, track the pop urgency of the graphic image and the artist’s evolution of the recent past. Four films in 35mm and 16mm, use the duration of a pop song as temporal holder of imagination. In War Whoop (2012), the geometric scratches in the film grain are inspired by both Northern European and Navajo rugs, catalyzed by a 1928 track Indian War Whoop by Floyd Ming and his Pep-Steppers, from the Anthology of American Folk Music, compiled and released by experimental filmmaker Harry Smith in 1952. Rosefilm (2013) shows the fragment of a movement and a reflection of its totality in the act of a hand counting the pearls of a rosary. In Braids of Space and Time (2013), the camera fixates on a pair of hands braiding leaves, which seem to induce the sonic frequencies of the psychedelia of the film itself. Finally, Bleach (2013), reimagines a cover-version of Nirvana’s Dive, by submerging the film into the corrosive chemical, as a destructive, elegiac force of the band’s luminous mystique.