After completing his diploma in architecture taught by Paul Virilio, Eric Vernhes begins working in film production alongside Anatole Dauman at Argos Films. Dauman goes on to invite Vernhes to write some of his first fictional and documentary projects. Among them, “Le théâtre amateur”, selected by the Cinémathèque Française for their “One hundred years of short film” cycle, as well as the feature length “Le Grand Projet”, winner of the Michel d’Ornano prize at the 1996 Deauville Film Festival.
Launching the production company “Les Productions Polaires”, Vernhes takes on filmmaking as a central art form and delves into all its facets, from screenwriting and editing to directing and creating sound. Searching for more intuitive approaches to the audiovisual medium, he turns to experimental video, implementing digital tools that condense the editing process, sound-image rendering and projection into one single act. In the company of improvisational musicians as Serge Adam, Benoit Delbecq, Marc Chalosse, and Gilles Coronado, Vernhes creates performances that simultaneously generate digital images and music. These performances are either interactive or hinge on a unique improvisational production of images created by a specific programming interface. The challenge for this work is to formulate a new cinematographic language, dictated only by intuition and by the present moment.
At this time Vernhes also works on theatrical projects, where imagery is integrated from the earliest writing stage (in collaboration with Irène Jacob, Jean-Michel Ribes...), as well as on some projects for the rock scene (with Rodolphe Burger, Alain Bashung…).
Starting in 2008, he begins working on audio-cinematic installations and arrangements, whose performances are programmed by self-generating, interactive or hybrid logics. He thus develops a complete, resolutely humanist artistic signature. Extracted from their technical context, the digital processes utilized by the artist recount a timeless narrative inspired by literature and philosophy. In their sophisticated aesthetic and use of rare, high quality materials, Vernhes’ pieces transcend the engineering technicalities of their programming, instead exploring the human gesture of creation. The artist has also constructed various anthropoids pieces whose self-propelling structures fuse with the viewer’s conscious perception to create a symbiotic performance.
Eric Vernhes has been exhibited in various international art fairs, centers and foundations, his work is part of several private collections and foundations, including the Hermès Foundation, the Frankel Foundation and Artphilein Foundation. He is also a professor of new media art.
De Notre Nature is inspired by Book II of «De rerum natura», by Lucretia. This poem in Latin, written in the first century B.C.E., is a translation of the atomist doctrine developed by Epicurus about two centuries earlier.
Book II revolves around atomic physics and the constitution of bodies: according to the Epicurean doctrine, matter is composed of indivisible particles which he calls «atoms». These atoms move randomly in the vacuum and can combine to form aggregates of matter that can embody a man as well as any object.
In this materialistic framework, Lucretia puts forward the concept of «clinamen»: a deviation, a spontaneous and random deviation of atoms from their vertical fall into the void, which allows them to collide and generate matter. From this atomic mechanics, Epicurus deduces the absence of divine determinism and the proof of the existence of our free will.
Eric Vernhes represents this cosmogonic vision through an installation consisting of a column surmounted by a golden tray containing balls and a mirror-screen a few steps away from the column. As the spectator approaches, the tray containing the marbles - a representation of the atoms of the Epicurean doctrine - begins to oscillate. The balls roll and collide with each other, generating a sound «wave». Simultaneously, a fragile image of the spectator appears on the screen as if it were generated by the movement of the «particles» in the tray.