14 January 2013

Art I like - Chrystel Lebas

Between Dog and Wolf - Untitled 2 - 2005 (image from here)
"Between dog and wolf"*, in the V&A's "Twilight" exhibition a while back, really impressed me. In the book published to coincide with the exhibition Chrystel Lebas says,"The forest is a fascinating space; one can feel attracted by its grandeur, or scared by its depth and darkness. This space of immensity echoes our childhood memories, through fairy-tale or play. Walking to the forest of my childhood, after many years, I remembered when we used to build a hut, and slowly the light would disappear, and darkness would surround us. The excitement of being inside this small shelter, protected  by large trees, overturned our fears, and instead we felt protected.

"To record the forest at night is a nearly impossible task. As for previous works, Night 2 and Azure, the photographs were taken during twilight, when light is still present outside the confined space of the forest, and darkness has already spread under the trees. Again using long exposures, the camera records the barely visible forms of the forest at night, making visible to the viewer's eye what would otherwise be shrouded in darkness. The skylight that breaks through the curtains formed by the trees’ density appears paler, and gives us the sense of an outside world, away from the compact and claustrophobic forest."

Blue Hour, Untitled 7, 2006 (image from here)
On this blog post describing the book you'll find a video of "The Blue Hour" - a bluebell wood in which only a few leaves stir, but the bird calls are constantly changing. How wonderful if it were in a room, projected on all four walls (or better, to be in the actual wood, in the silence...).

See her more recent work on her website, chrystellebas.com - it opens with this image -
Presence-Untitled n.30-Risnjak-Kupa, 2010
* "‘Between Dog and Wolf’," says Lebas, "isn’t only a French expression for the Twilight Hour, ‘Entre chien et loup’, it is also the moment when twilight embodies the transition from dog to wolf, when it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between the howling sound coming from the two animals, when the domestic and familiar transform into the wild. In Finland, Kaamos is the name given to the specific blue light experienced at twilight during the winter, twilight would last approximately four hours and is recorded here in this series. During the exposure time that lasted one to two hours the sound of a dog barking was heard in a distance, or was it a wolf, as it was difficult to discern the two animals from one another. These series question our relationship with a familiar landscape; the images are empty of human presence, however this emptiness is connected with the notion of possible stories, which might be somewhere behind the picture, a story that might be told although leaving the viewer to experience the inexplicable and a possible feeling of insecurity."

In other words, the uncanny power of twilight...

1 comment:

Heather said...

Wow, fascinating! And beautiful images. Thanks for visiting my blog and for leading me back to yours. I'm going to check out those thimble links now!