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Hannah Bertram, the enchantress of dust

Béatrice Delamotte

The creations of Australian artist Hannah Bertram are made all the more so transient as she uses only light, airy, diaphanous materials. At the slightest breath of air, her work could disappear, bringing into question the permanence of art.

Talc, dust, perfumed powder, or ash and crushed crystals…Many delicate, light, airy materials are used for the creations of Hannah Bertram. The Australian artist has succeeded in recreating an intimate space through olfactory impressions and visuals of fragile and insatiable beauty. To create these temporary works, in connection with traditional ornementation such as the decorative Victorian motifs of the 19th century, Hannah Bertram only uses materials which are delicate and often quite ordinary, thus questionning the value of durability, the visible and the invisible.

Particularly sensitive to the irreversible effects of time, these works remind us that preciosity is too often negelcted in our daily lives, even considered to be superfluous. Hannah Bertram uses time as a tool in her work, in the same way that she involves physical materials. The time needed to create each one of her pieces is part of her aesthetic process: weeks of work can disappear in a matter of minutes. The immateriality of these creations questions the impermanence of  the very nature of artistic work. Hannah Bertram transforms poetry into something concrete and, in doing this, reveals the vulnerability of life. Her delicate arabesques of dust recall forgotten patterns that we could believe to have never existed.


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