Aura Hysterica

16 oeuvres

The work presented here, is a series of diptychs and triptychs. The title, Aura Hysterica, refers on the one hand to the various meanings of the word « aura. » In latin it means breath or breeze, and also describes a light phenomenon associated with holiness. In addition, « aura » is a medical term for the hot feeling that precedes an epileptic or hysterical fit. « Hysterica, » on the other hand, reinforces this aspect of the aura.
Both words are linked in medical terminology by the similarities between mystical ecstasies and ecstatic conditions of hysterics, as well as by the light visions experienced by hysterics when their vision is disrupted (the so-called scintillating scotoma). And before an attack, hysterics begin a kind of dance (chorea lasciva), during which they feel themselves carried away by a breath passing through their bodies.
Thus « aura » and « hysteria » reflect each other like two facing mirrors. In the same manner, each of diptychs sets two pictures in reciprocal motion, for instance: one of a contemporary event and one of a past event; or one showing a lascivious dance, another a symbol of pain. Indeed, the sight of something horrible can trigger a fit of hysteria, possibly ecstatic hysteria, and mystical ecstasy can have its origin in pain. It is this paradoxical relationship between joy and extreme pain that I have tried to confront in this work.
Régine Cirotteau. Catalogue European photography award Berlin 1992



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