Manon de Boer primarily works with film, and her art often subjects the medium itself to critical scrutiny; for example, she insistently probes the interplay between image and sound and questions the power of pictures as well as their claim to truth. Personal narrative and musical interpretation figure as both subjects and methodological registers of de Boer’s filmic portraits, which she composes as slow-paced fluid sequences of images. Most of the protagonists of her films are actors and actresses, musicians, dancers, and intellectuals. The characters gradually assume definite shape as their recollections unfold, emerging into view like photographic prints in the darkroom, and even the fully formed picture conceals at least as much as it reveals. In de Boer’s work, what one might describe as the fragmentary or inconsistent quality of narrative not only draws attention to the mutable relationship between time and language; it also highlights the ways in which perception is dependent on the situational context and subject to subtle alterations. The use of voiceover narration adds another layer that transcends the sitter’s physical presence.
Manon de Boer’s exhibition Giving Time to Time presents six film pieces that reflect the artist’s interest in the conditions in which creativity and unfettered artistic expression flourish. As she sees it, the experience of time as indefinite and open-ended duration and an unburdened mind are crucial: “I regard these moments of aimlessness when you can let your mind wander, forget time, and clear your head as an essential part of the creative process.”