Camille, 2011. Looping HD video (sample clip)
“Camille” is a looping HD video that references Johannes Vermeer’s 17th century masterwork, “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. It is a reflection on individual identity and the ephemeral nature of life within a genetic continuum.
Vermeer’s painting gives the sense of a gesture rather than a still portrait. A young woman glances back over her shoulder toward the viewer. The viewer becomes the target of the girl’s sensual glance. The painting captures a fleeting moment but a timeless gesture.
We can imagine that the model posing for Vermeer would have quite a different relationship to time. She would have had to hold that pose for hours, days, weeks, perhaps months, frozen in space but not in time.
I decided to recreate the situation in reverse. Not the pose in the painting, but rather the gesture the painting suggested. For this, I filmed Camille reproducing the gesture over and over again in my studio. The aim was to create through movement a single moment that would match as close as possible to the pose of Vermeer’s model. Thus, two similar girls became connected across centuries of time.