Equivalences - Une gamme
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Publication date : 2022/05/12
Weight 550 g / Dimensions 25.8 x 30 cm / 80 pages
Text (in French) by Bertrand Schefer
This book is published with the support of Parfums Christian Dior.
In Vibrations, Henri Foucault offers a powerful and poetic interpretation of the gardens of Giverny, using the ancient process of the photogram, at the heart of his photographic practice. Foucault, a “sculptor-photographer,” magnifies the aquatic plants of Claude Monet’s beloved water feature in this book-object conceived as a herbarium.
Vibrations presents the series of photograms made by Henri Foucault in 2015 in response to the invitation of the Musée des Impressionnismes de Giverny to participate in the exhibition “Photographing Monet’s Gardens”, a project that led him for two years to survey, regularly and in all seasons, the gardens of Claude Monet.
Following his usual modus operandi, Henri Foucault immerses himself in the places to find the path of his creation. In Giverny, which he visits several times a month, he follows in the footsteps of the painter and focuses his attention on the water garden – Monet’s open-air studio. With an iPhone or a polaroid, he first records the movements and shapes of this universe that fascinates him and accumulates dozens of preparatory shots. “Everything is photogenic in this lake of water: you can’t miss an image,” he recalls.
Sculptor and photographer of abstraction, he continues his quest by making photograms, a simple and original process that he has been exploring since the 1990s and through which he rediscovers the materiality of the sculptor’s gesture. He brings back to his studio a bunch of aquatic plants chosen for their graphic forms or their fragile appearance, a taste for figures that he shares with Henri Matisse and Ellsworth Kelly, artists who inspire him.
In a few days, Foucault creates about sixty hypnotic photograms. He puts his fingers in the clay of light and twists the process of the photogram as established by the masters Henri Fox Talbot or Anna Atkins, to create these poetic objects, at the limit of figuration. By moving the plant four or five times during the exposure, the blurs, the grays, the superimpositions appear in a play of light and shadow, evoking the movement of the wind in the vegetation. A rare aesthetic purity emerges from these images, a muted and agitated force, a singular dynamic.
With this alliance between sculpture and photography, volume and light, the materiality of the plant and the unreality of the print, Foucault signs a powerful aesthetic and becomes the “sculptor-photographer”.
Vibrations is composed like a herbarium in which the 45 reproductions of the photograms resemble botanical plates, put together with a removable binding. In its center slips Bertrand Schefer’s text, “Le Nénuphar Blanc” in reference to a text of Stéphane Mallarmé, a melancholic ode to the illuminations of Henri Foucault. The white silk-screen printed cover adds to the elegance of this precious book.