The girl who was never asked to marry

Ria Pacquée


Installation, 90 x 80 x 100 cm.
Materials: leather, paper, silk

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK005618).

The bridal gown on the sofa, together with the photo-album and the photograph on the wall, are all components of this installation by Ria Pacquée. The ensemble comprises the result of her performances where she plays a subtle game with everyday reality. Transformed into her prototypical 'Madame', she plays this role to the fill. Her art is thus no direct rendering of our society, rather it drifts and hovers between reality and fiction, underscoring some of life's trials and tribulations. ‘Madame’ anonymously makes her lonely way in the world. She exudes a desperation that is almost palpable. Her photographs are imbued with a sense of loss, of solitude and a melancholy before which one may be powerless to resist. But we also see a 'Madame' who is indefatigably always looking for something to fill this emotional void, and this element often brings humor to her performances. A humor that is both cutting and healing, always leaving us with the impression that 'Madame' is not so hopeless a case as she first appears. In this installation, as well, we 'Madame' refusing to drown in loneliness. She poses in a bridal dress in green surroundings and in front of City Hall, as befits the occasion. There is, however, the absence of one key participant, and 'Madame's sad saga is destined to continue. Moreover, the gown and the wrenched opened photo-album abandoned on the sofa, only go to amplify this feeling of isolation. The void is not yet filled, the quest not yet accomplished. But despite the missing bridegroom, 'Madame' will not be put off from diving into life, from doing as she must. Despite the fact that 'Madame' is a figure of fiction, we still can identify with her plight, and her performances provide us with food for thought.

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