Transitions…


« Transitions » is the title of a photography exhibition scheduled from September 18 to October 16, 2020 at the Maison des Cultures et des Arts de Lieusaint (Seine et Marne).

The prints for this exhibition, which also includes photographs by Stéphane Chalant and Eric Kronberger, have been chosen by the Maison des Cultures et des Arts to make up the first exhibition of the 2020-2021 season. Special thanks to Sandrine Albertelli for the selection of photos.

The aim of this exhibition is to « cross themes and points of view, to explore the territory from other angles », based on snapshots taken in and around Lieusaint.

I wanted to give here my impressions regarding the theme and the chosen pictures…

Transitions…

Transitions are first of all ‘transits’ from one space to another, and on the same time scale. From the city to the suburbs, from industrial wasteland to natural space, from the workplace to the place where you live, to the place where you relax, celebrate or go on holiday. These are « de-placements », voluntary or involuntary, but which shape a certain perception of the environment in us. We either seek these transitions or regret them. The transition acts in this way in space and imposes on us a certain way of seeing, enriched by our particular visions.

Another world….

Thus, from a standing posture, we can bend over, and suddenly another dimension appears at our feet, with its own reliefs, faults, forests, rivers and large lakes. There, a dew droplet is a huge globe of water balanced on a rib; a moss is a jungle where jagged peaks and dens multiply. This familiar thing that we were about to crush with a harmless step makes us slide into a kind of unknown, a world of lilliputians spread all around us, much more discreet than our swarming cities. It is there, and yet we are unaware of its beauty, sometimes even its existence. Let us bend our knees to make this transition, to create intimacy; just as it is enough to embrace a trunk to feel at the end, under the rough bark, the long ascents of sap towards the heights.

When you look up…

…the trees surround us. Alone or in copses, they impose by their height, their stature, their resistance. They make the forests, which are the last havens of a natural savagery that we need for our imagination, and regain our strength. The edge is this place of transition, and the heron is there, like a watchman on a snowy day, on this border between the domesticated plain where he can still root, and the forest where he needs high forks to lay his nest. Like us, the heron therefore needs both, and these two environments are even complementary, on the condition that they are respected: one is not just a wood factory; the other is not just quintal land.

The visions…

We then like to dream of a nature where brutal transitions, mapped by man, would no longer exist. Landscapes of forests, valleys and streams would merge into each other to show a balance, of which only the natural elements would be the organizers: soil, water, light. This mixture would create a vision of a landscape without transition, a natural environment of the origins where man would be only a contemplator. These are the visions that the twilight knows how to send us, in this fleeting moment where the last light of the day mixes with thoughts of shadows, with darker dreams…

So let us be dazzled in admiration by…

…the intense light of a sunrise…

…near the water. It is the moment when, between the reeds, day follows night, and launches into the sky, in this other daily and universal transition, the enormous star whose coming brings hope and life. This light carries a gentleness capable of reactivating life in the reedbed and making it prosper. With the passing of the seasons, and in known or distant lands, this light now causes the air to burn more, to the point of drying up the water, and transforming the ecosystems into more arid environments. We are experiencing this transition on the scale of our planet; how can it be reversed in favour of a life that had been able to increase by itself ? The splash of life has often raised the stakes, but will it lead to a more radical change ?

The right balance…

Natural light, when it penetrates between the clouds, covers the landscapes we love with a curtain of beauty. Yes, it takes those moments when the atmosphere achieves the right balance between land, water and the oblique rays of the sun. For it is these moments of transition between lightning and rain that carry the imprint of a place in our memories. Nothing forces the landscape to be sublime; it is the light that transforms it.

The colours of the sky…

It’s up to the clouds that, flying troops in the sky, take on the colour of the morning or evening, or the colour of the atmosphere, or the colour of a season. We would also like to see our own colours, the ones we paint with great thought about the powerful dynamics that surround us, move us, imprison us. The sky is then only the small reflection of our great inner agitations, of our unspeakable fleeting transitions.

The colors of the sky

 

 

 

 

 

Transition is also about time passing and…

…Form is just a snapshot taken on a transition (Henri Bergson).

This perception has become so familiar to us, that it passes for being insignificant in everyday life; or, on the contrary, an urgency that needs to be toasted at both ends as soon as possible. It depends on how much hope and patience we still have.

The matter at work in our eyes…

Thus certain places present us with different faces depending on the time we spend there. This pond, known to have often gone around it, shows us at dusk a different, unusual colour, even a kind of material at work in our eyes. So, was it enough to just stand there and wait without expecting anything more?

 

 

Forcing this posture longer brings other visions to us as the light declines. Some even appear on the borderline between the natural and inhabited world. These lights, amalgamated by the winter fog, are they the halos of the moon, or the first glimmers of streetlights? At the same time as the day gives way to night, a doubt remains as to who, nature or man, takes precedence over the lights provided in our surroundings, over the small landscapes of proximity, there in the large interstices of our burgeoning suburbs.

The man…

Sometimes, while the landscape inhabits us by its snow-white, man appears in the distance, like a stain, and comes closer. As he comes, this man occupies the space with his dog. In a short space of time – a little on the scale of a snow shower – we see only him, his black shape thickens and grows, while the dog pulls and scans with the tip of his leash. The vision of an immaculate nature is everywhere a fantasy, which only the fleetingness of our dreams can still offer. Man is a conqueror by nature, and this shape growing larger in the snow is only the sign of an invasion at work through roads, walls, noise and cables. This transition is now striking in its constancy.

In regression…

Rarely does a butterfly fly at our feet. Once it has landed, it happens that we freeze in a kind of contemplation, unusual, involuntary, for the thing is simple: it has none of the attributes of the extraordinary, those likely to attract our attention as a man force-fed by the ecstasy of new things. The immobility of this butterfly, its azure blue, its very imprudence, astonishes us. To stand there doing nothing, observing it to the exclusion of all else, seems to us in the end unbearable; it is a waste of time, cries out a small voice deep within ourselves. We are so impatient that it demands that we return to the bubbling world beyond this piece of meadow, which is just spared by a closely levelled housing estate. And yet this butterfly – a Green-underside blue – is in reprieve. Its habitat is being nibbled, fragmented and squandered in commercial, logistic and residential areas, which we are told are essential for maintaining employment and the well-being of those who have taken it away. It is a question of economic survival, and we cannot get out of hand in certain assemblies, it seems to be quite talkative. Let us note that this species of butterfly has, at the very least, tens of thousands of years of learning behind it; it can only live in flowery meadows, in close company with ants protecting its caterpillar. Let’s concrete the sainfoin and our children won’t see this butterfly anymore, even with both knees in the flowers. Ten more years and this transition will be over, completed and closed by the solid lighthouse of progress.

Fugitive visions…

It is thus without delay that one must take advantage of these fleeting visions of a Common brimstone in the spring willows. Where are we going ? This butterfly has spent the winter in an ivy cascade, without freezing, and is fond of these sweet kittens under the first rays of sunshine in March. This individual, whose species has the longest life span among European butterflies, will still only live for a few months. But this is assumed in this species by valuable and proven survival strategies; there is nothing brutal and unaccustomed about it; no fear of this species in the complete derailment of nature’s long oiled system. Unless… Where are we going ?

There are times when the finely crafted reasoning in our economics and policy textbooks should be laid bare…

Destitutions…

In the depths of winter, only the leafless, frost-covered stems can be seen in front of the burgeoning sun. Under the bite of frost, the plant only makes visible the rubble of the last summer. But soon, through the roots, a new sap will swell green shoots, and the plant will blossom in the place given to it by its natural environment. Anything can have a place, but each has its own. No more. And this is how no plant can dominate the other, without one day being swept away by another, for lack of having drawn too much from its environment. Here, transitions always take place in small steps, and this since the origins.

 

These few photographs, therefore, are a small offering so that the most beautiful transitions are still accomplished, for the greatest pleasure of our senses; but in respect of this measured, measured momentum of life that surrounds us, and in which we have built ourselves.


Print format :

  • size : 50 x 70 cm, or 70 x 100 cm
  • photo paper on frame, or sticker