Le Figaro, no. 19370
Le Figaro et vous, Saturday, November, 2006, p. 28

Thyra Hilden:
The Inverted World of the Night

Featured in Singing Swinging Nordics, a young photographer and video artist to keep an eye on.


With two dark spit-curls like an Argentine tango dancer, flashing her large, dark, doe-like eyes to accentuate a demeanor full of exuberance, Thyra Hilden hardly matches the typical Nordic archetypes. Tapping away at full speed on her computer to explain her work at night's end, this "brunette" is the only spot of bright color in her empty studio, an immaculate white, in the most tranquilly lavish heart of Copenhagen. The beauty of the setting and the person hides a striking, wild, and day-blind animal. The artist works in the night, like a cat on the prowl, along the deserted beaches of Denmark to track abandoned sand castles, the "childish monuments" that become her giants. Or in the woods of Sjælland to transform "asymmetric" nature into a theater of magical spells through a single play of the mirror ( Det Synkrone, or Synchronicity, a fascinating video that "reads the forest," from 2004-2006. Nothing is lost, everything is transformed.

  "According to Freud, the most shocking experience for   human beings is the feeling of seeing their familiar universe become foreign under their own eyes,"   recalls the art historian Merete Jankowski, struck by "the feeling of isolation that penetrates the universe of Thyra Hilden,"   and the absence of irony, this safeguard so dear to Danish culture.   "Reality seems so different at night. The division between being inside and being outside becomes more complex.   It's like crossing over a border where empathy appears," explains this contemporary artist

with all the seriousness of youth, born in 1972 in a "libertarian and radical Danish family," whom Paris Photo features is its selection "Singing Swinging Nordics" with her video Dream Generation (2).

"In Thyra Hilden's inverted world, our sensory faculties function according to a different logic.

Surrounded by flashes, subjects captured by the artist become specimens torn from their sleep for the moment of a photo," explains her companion Maria Lund with enthusiasm over having brought Hilden's work before the eyes of Parisians (1). "I love to show everything that is familiar to our eyes, impose night upon it- this parallel reality -remove its voice, its context, accentuate the infinity of darkness and shadows with the flash, and bring out the experience of solitude, infusing the moment with a greater existential intensity," adds Hilden, newly married and as talkative as a child on vacation, her soul even wilder than her words.

Between construct and madness

"I have always known that my perception of reality was different. My parents were architects, highly politically engaged, and both revolutionaries. I was raised without any limitations in a tiny Danish village with a very narrow mindset.   I saw other children all living in the same way, the same families, the same clothes, the same houses, the same dogs. I used to dream of being like them, I who lived in a hippy commune of militants, political refugees, feminists, and lunatics, and, let's say, three fathers and two mothers!" confides this artist who is "always looking for the border between construct and madness."   A sign?   Her monumental video project City on Fire, developed with her young Argentine husband Pio Diaz, which ignites the icons of our culture (3).

(1) "Thyra Hilden, Castles Made of Sand," photo and video exposition through November 7 at Galerie Maria Lund. Prices are still moderate for her "Castles Made of Sand," (from 950-2,400 Euros), or the highly graphic film stills of her video Synchronicity (550 Euros).

(2) Hilden's video work has been shown in France at Fresnoy (2002) and the CRAC Alsace in Altkirch (2006).

(3) http: //www.thyrahilden.dk

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