Translated from the French by Thea Petrou
When Alix Cléo Roubaud died at the age of 31, she left behind a profound and deeply personal body of work exploring self-portraiture, life, illness, the body and death. Hélène Giannecchini was the curator tasked with sorting through some six hundred photographs, letters, and other written documents belonging to the artist ahead of a posthumous retrospective held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in 2014. But she had never met Alix Cléo Roubaud and this absence is felt keenly through her writing as she treads the boundaries between biography and fiction, life and art. Hélène Giannecchini pieces together the fragments that remain of this fleeting but dazzling life, spotlighting the theoretical underpinnings of the photographer’s ideas on the double, repetition and drawing out the influences of Wittgenstein and Gertrude Stein on her practice. Just as Alix Cléo Roubaud’s art is approached through the notes jotted in her journal, and the material evidence of trial prints and chemical experiments from the darkroom, so too Hélène Giannecchini respects the interstices in her account, allowing the blind spots of memory to be.
This translation has been occasioned by a new showing of Alix Cléo Roubaud’s work alongside that of Francesca Woodman, Shala Miller, Carla Williams and Justine Kurland in a group exhibition curated by Moyra Davey for Galerie Buchholz, New York.
Hélène Giannecchini was born in 1987. She is a writer and curator who, as the director of the Alix Cléo Roubaud Foundation, co-curated the Alix Cléo Roubaud retrospective held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in 2014.