Life on earth is located inside a thin and delicate envelope barely thirty kilometers thick: the biosphere. Through “Elysian Fields“, I explore the intermediate layer which separates the terrestrial world from that of the cosmos. This space is in suspension and like the world below, it is not quiet.
For several years, I have been photographing the sky from my airplane seat. Once in the air, between 9 000 and 12 000 meters, the narrowness of the space reduces my territory and my mobility. The small porthole, doubled by the window of the viewfinder of my camera, becomes my escape from acrophobia, this irrational fear of height, or let’s say rather of falling and emptiness.
When we photograph a terrestrial landscape, we stop. We go forward, we go back, we wait for the perfect light inside a patiently composed frame. And if the combination of the elements is not satisfactory, we come back to it at another time. Nothing – or very little – will have changed.
In the air, suspended in these seemingly lifeless margins, there is no physical wandering. The plane moves from one place to another, according to a very precise trajectory. It is the landscape that comes to us. Reduced to passivity and contemplative state we dive into a form of hypnosis. Sometimes it's a flat blue sky, sometimes it's an immense chaos of meteors whose appearance is constantly changing. The real journey is the continuous drive from the real to the imaginary.
From this vertical axis and looking horizontally (we never see the earth's surface), nature allows a variety of shapes, colors, shadows and light coexist. I started this project as a topography of fluctuating surfaces and spaces, in perpetual movement. But what is a landscape?
Impalpable constructions absorb, overlap, tear or intertwine in forms that seem to convey my imagination. There is no structure except the horizon or frame of my viewfinder. These visions are unconscious resurgences disturbing landscapes of the sublime or of those organized by our own vanity in dominating nature.
The perfection of nature far surpasses art in the production of appearances.
After all, it is these floating rivers that water the earth to bring life. Just like light and darkness, the sky reflects the duality between an interstitial world and the terrestrial world, like a mirror.
The magic, the mystery and the power of a photograph comes from its character of incompleteness, from the limits of representation. Facing “in-finity” and its perpetual transformation that which creates a tension between the reminiscence of a landscape and the “Equivalent”, in other words, the emotion of abstraction.
I perceive a certain order and proceed by elimination, decides on a frame and the moment when the unit constitutes a totality sufficient in itself. "Simplicity is complexity resolved " said Brancusi.
To photograph is also to retain disappearance, time and light; an image that has already ceased to exist and will never return.
There is no ending but new beginnings are possible.
Maybe the sky is the last refuge of our dreams and anxieties.
Pingyao - China