Aurélie Verdier, "Might have been". From Might have been, no more, too late, farewell, text for Le Prix Marcel Duchamp (2022)

“– And what do you think of my face? Is it drooping? – No, my dear Orchidée, it’s as if you were made of plastic.”1

Mimosa Echard’s work-process refers to things which cannot be named. The litany of components of her “painting-objects” seems to confirm this: no immediate (or delayed) resemblance to anything identifiable. Once the interference of materials has been accomplished, the heterogeneity acts as a principle of existence – a non-identification to the matrical self. Her work organises flux and its intrinsic lability functions as a supplementary indication of the liquid nature of existence. The hidden lability her objects functions like these machines that “engender one and another, select, eliminate, open up new lines of possibility”.[^2]

For a long time now, her work has appropriated the ancient notion of pharmakon – both “remedy and poison; cure and curare; potion and venom;[^3] treatment ... and threat”. And so, technoscience and marketing, machines and biology, nature and artifice, produce an emotional instability in the work that in return, consecrates the precarious nature of this liquid life. This is where worlds lodge themselves, worlds which Echard says are nothing more than our own, still-already there. It is these worlds which broaden the scope of art. Her work plays with the symbolic dimension of the imagination conveyed by the object. Indetermined, the object simultaneously becomes overdetermined, like these hanging beads called Saps that Echard regards as data or pollen.The same goes for the oestrogen that flows either directly or obliquely through the work. Moreover, Donna Haraway reminds us on this subject that “Big Pharma makes some very lucrative pills” out of “the urine of gestating mares”[^4]. And the philosopher concludes that “humid nocturnal stains produce knowledge” whilst the pharmaceutical laboratories “keep the feminists awake”[^5].

Among several dozen companies making these modern domestic fountains or water walls, one of them – based in Utah – promises the buyer: water walls are a welcoming sign of home, the discreet mark of luxury. Calm guaranteed (soothing, the same name as the company who makes them) procured by the incessant flux of water, and which – secondary advantage – will embellish the domestic space or corporate architecture. This idea of a perpetually renewed source appears to promise spiritual accomplishment at the same time. The artist’s aquatic partition might have been all of those things. Might have been. But we are no longer concerned with houses or investment banks here. She transplants it – like a heart? – into the exhibition space. Mimosa Echard leaves the worlds occupied by these water walls to the imaginations of narcissistic capitalism, to reiterate that liquid life is well and truly our life: liquid, the capital that finds itself in the globalised interchangeable investment banks; liquid, the energetic flux and pseudo-zen thinking of well-being spaces designed to evoke purification rituals; liquid, water walls installed in the domestic space.The water wall in the gallery has become a machine of over-encoded desiring flux, a machine of blurred vision, but also powerfully panoptic because the works are installed behind the flux of water, multiplying the watching/watched system of vision. Slightly tinged with yellow, the trickling water loses its freshness to evoke other bodily fluids. Because it is no longer bluish in colour, it is yellow; it is no longer cool, but probably warm; like urine, just like the nature of water itself, instilling doubt into our minds.