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Video still from The weight of invisible pain 

The weight of invisible pain bears the documentary roughness of testimonies of white- tagged victims of domestic violence, interwoven with ethereal landscapes. Its hyperrealism imposes itself as a major quality. In the very cold space of the basement where the video runs in loop the word / warning “Help yourself- Tea and Vodka” on the vintage table is the literal answer to their muted violence. The viewer, alone on his couch, can only suffer in silence. Nestled in the plaid, clutching his teddy, he remembers, commemorates, stares at all those drawn voices. After a while, fed by the others, he doesn’t count anymore. The odyssey at the heart of the limbo of reality is striking. No one is ever ready for The Weight of Invisible Pain.

                                                                                                                                                                                           S. Botella, Mouvement, March 2014

Mechanics of emotion (2013) is a series of three video installations: The weight of invisible pain, A Portrait and Spectator. The three independent, yet connected works, are studies on different ways emotions are manifested and exposed to our surroundings. 

The weight of invisible pain, a video installation for one visitor at a time, is inspired by Eleonore Mercier’s book Je suis complétement battue that is comprised of first sentences from callers to a help-line for domestic abuse victims. In the work text and photos dialogue with each other contributing to at times opening up and at others closing down possible interpretations of what is being communicated. The weight of invisible pain focuses on the confrontation between comfort and violence, love and abuse in the private and public environment. It is about the violence that occurs behind closed doors, be it the doors of our homes or the doors of our inner selves. It is about the violence we commit towards each other and ourselves when we think nobody is watching. It is about the complexity of emotions related to our relationship to others and ourselves in the quotidian, how sometimes we are forced to hover between being present and absent, being here or disappearing. Through the seeming banality of the material a feeling of discomfort seeps through.

Text, photos and composition by Nada Gambier
Editing by Inneke Van Waeyenberghe
Editing assistant Thomas Depas
Produced by Action Scenique
With the support of the Flemish Ministry of Culture (structural subsidies 2013-14)

A portrait is a zoom in on Nada’s face. A face contains traces of the past and establishes an identity in the present. When we look in the mirror we think we see who we are. No matter how young or old, how physically flexible or imaginative, the face is the one body part that somehow remains invisible to us throughout our lives, that we never see other than through a reflection, and yet it is that very part of ourselves we tend to make use of when we portray ourselves. By tending to it as flesh that moves, as textured material, the work explores how abstract a human face can become and to what extent emotion still seeps through. In A Portrait emotion appears as a side effect of the physical manipulation of the face, often remaining in an in-between state where the expression of the face does not immediately reflect a state of mind. The face becomes like a live canvas with an emotional charge that is at once both graceful and grotesque.

Filmed, edited and performed by Nada Gambier
Produced by Action Scenique
With the support of the Flemish Ministry of Culture (structural subsidies 2013-14)


Video stills from A portrait

In Spectator Nada plays with the contrast between “fake” (acted) emotions and traces of feeling appearing involuntarily in the face. The installation is a triptych consisting of silent portraits of 13 volunteers. Acted emotions are juxtaposed with “real” emotions and moments when the awareness of being watched disappears. The volunteers are filmed doing tasks in relation to presence (going through a series of acted emotions and set actions) but also in- between tasks, moments when the “actors” forget or don’t know that they are being filmed. In Spectator Nada wants to reveal how sometimes, if one looks closely, the traces from the past that are left on the surface of our skin speak very loud. Through this work Nada shares her passion for observing people, their appearance, attitude and actions, trying to grasp that which lies within, almost invisible to the eye.

Video stills from Spectator

Directed, filmed and edited by Nada Gambier
With the assistance of Charlotte Vanden Eynde
Starring: Coralie Stalberg, Yves Delattre, Ine Pieters, Mariano Cirone, Jonas Chéreau, Jef Stevens, Beja Pingnet, Myriam Vancraeynest, Patricia Fernandez, Ivan Fatjo Chaves, Estelle Delcambre, Louise Baduel and Anna Whaley
Produced by Action Scenique
With the support of Pianofabriek Kunstenwerkplaats Brussels

and the Flemish Ministry of Culture (structural subsidies 2013-14)


Mechanics of emotion has been presented in
Belgium: Berchem (ccBerchem), Brussels (Pianofabriek Kunstwerkplaats, WoWmen! festival at the Kaaistudio’s and La Bellone, house of the performing arts), Kortrijk (Kunstencentrum Buda)
Finland: Turku (New Performance Turku festival)
United Kingdom: Brighton (SICK! festival), Manchester (SICK! festival)

For further information and digital files of the works please send a mail to

For upcoming dates, check out the Agenda


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