Artiste-professeure invitée


Catherine Ikam

Born in 1945 in Paris (France)

«The fact that Catherine Ikam lives so close to the mansion of the Marquise de Sévigné is not a pure coincidence. The two ladies utilized the then-available communication media to their extremes and made them into consummate artworks... The Marquise de Sévigné with a point to point feedback system (commonly called "letter"), and Catherine Ikam with a multiple terminals correspondence system (commonly called "video").»

Nam June Paik, Du cheval à Christo et autres écrits, Lebeer Hossmann, 1993

Since 1980 Catherine Ikam has been working on the concept of identity in the electronic age, and in particular on the themes of identity and appearance, the living and the artificial, the human and the model. She is considered to be one of the pioneering European artists in the field of new technologies. In 1980, she created for the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris) an installation on the theme of identity based on various problematic instances of self-representation: in Fragments d'un Archétype and Identité III, she introduces fragmentation in video installations (cf Nam June Paik, Videocryptography).

Catherine Ikam has been a Research Fellow at the Massachusset Institute of Technology, author and producer of tv programs for the French public television, co-author of Valis, a video opera produced by the IRCAM and the Musée National d'Art Moderne for the 10th anniversary of the Centre Georges-Pompidou. In 2000, she was awarded the Arcimboldo Prize for Digital Arts, and her work is widely shown both in France and abroad.

Since 1990, Catherine Ikam and Louis Fléri have been producing virtual reality installations in which the visitor can interact in real time with virtual characters. Among these are : L'Autre, created in 1992 for the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain (Paris); Les portraits virtuels, first shown at the 1995 Biennale d'Art contemporain de Lyon; Le Messager, shown in 1995 at Cités Cinés 2, La Défense (Paris); Alex, a 1996 piece for the new rooms of the IRCAM/Centre Georges Pompidou; Elle, a work from 1999 for the show « Portraits : Réel/Virtuel » at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), and Oscar, created in March 2005 for « Paris à Shanghai » at the Shanghai Art Museum.

As a guest artist at Le Fresnoy in 2005-2006, Catherine Ikam is proposing to work on a digital installation entitled Digital Diaries. Based on the staging of a virtual landscape, it will be made up of hybrid elements: objects, still and moving images, voices, and sounds. These elements will be stored in the memory banks of a computer and will materialize at given moments and in particular places, depending on the movements of the visitors in the space of the exhibition.

The project will be integrated into the traveling show of Caterine Ikam and Louis Fléri's works scheduled for March 2007 by the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and coproduced by Le Fresnoy and the Afaa.