2020 – 2022
With the support of Fondation du Carrefour des Arts
The Soignes Forest (south of Brussels) is marked by the influence of human activity. Identified as one of the primary forests of Western Europe, Caesar mentions it during the conquest of Gaul, then it was deeply exploited in the Middle Ages as well as, more recently, during the construction of transport infrastructures.
This human presence soon translated into visual signs for me, resulting in a visual tangle of shapes that caught my eye. In Western culture, to read a figurative landscape, our eye needs abstraction: a horizon line, geometric perspective, a foreground, a background,… So, first, I tried to detect in this forest the shapes left by humans: clear, sharp, orderly. In a second phase, I realise that I read the forest differently. I then imprint on the apparent chaos of the trees and branches the geometric shapes that I am looking for and that belong to the human world, thus creating a dialogue between the latter and the forest. How does our perception of what is called « nature » induce a set of relationships that becomes abstract and pushes humans outside of it? How can we change this paradigm in order to create a new set of relations with the living ?
Under the enlarger, I work on the image in order to bring out the geometric shapes that I perceive in the forest. Once the shape has been photographed, I cut out a corresponding mask which I use to play with this shape under the enlarger. The rest is generally improvised in the laboratory according to the image and what I see in it: this gives rise to games of masks but also of colours. To photograph is to choose; there is a sort of quintessence of choice pushed to the extreme in the cutting of the form using light. The enlarger allows me to explore a manual and artisanal dimension of the image, made up of experiments and trials, where a different kind of relationship is established with my images, which only take on their full meaning once they have passed through the enlarger.