St Cirq Lapopie: A Photographic Exhibition
A Contemporary Vision of a Medieval Village
These limited edition photographs form a national and international touring exhibion.
The two and sometimes three dimensional imagery that Photography and Painting espouse, have been in the crossfire for many intellectualised debates. Yet both still offer perhaps the most intrigue and fascination, witnessed by the popularity of major exhibitions throughout Australia and internationally. When analysing my own methods and reasoning, I have questioned the tangible nature of what is actually present in a visual image
In taking photographs for The Medieval French Village series, I analysed my practise as an artist and thought about the village as a special place like a tapestry. Woven into the fabric are a myriad of thoughts, glimpses and ingrained meanings. For instance, in the body of photographs, I felt a certain sense of mystery and feeling about the place. It is this sort of soulful and intuitive aspect that attracted me to the subject. There is a desire to capture perhaps something that is not really in the picture. This becomes the ultimate challenge.
I became conscious of the sense of history and time that exists. The village of St Cirq Lapopie which is situated on the Lot River in the South West of France became a jewel for my investigation. Perched on an 80 metre cliff, the village is the remnant of a former medieval city. There are corners and crevices, windows and doors and parts of stone walls which seem to hold the key to a greater story.
By spending time in the one vicinity I was able to capture a sense of storytelling in the photographs which are suggested in the glimpses of what remains. There is a shadowy something behind the scenes; a sort of disguised knowing of others experiences. Perhaps a darker side spirited in or perhaps a heightened awareness of the tangible and intangible.
André Breton was to have said that this little part of the world was likened to some of Rimbauds's illuminations. I think this still exists. The Maison de André Breton is a mystery unto itself. Partly in ruins in has an alluring quality that seems to me to prevail through the stone walls and open windows. I lived for one month in the village, staying in a friends attic which overlooked part of the village and across to the André Breton house. We were invited to the village chateau nearby by a woman who swapped a Picasso for it. She had photographs of André Breton and some of the surrealists of that period, yet another point in time.
As a serious photographer and darkroom fanatic, I have been transformed by new technology. Previously, long hours and toxic chemicals were part of my oeuvre.
However, now through the use of a highly professional digital camera and computer programs I am able to produce work that emulates the old techniques likened to bromides and sepia toned old forms of photography which are impractical for today.
Through great experimentation I discovered ways of producing these images and printing them onto a fine art paper which is archival and still milled in France . They are printed as an edition of only 25, then each print is subtly hand coloured with the finest art pastels and individually signed.
They are highly suitable for collection.
It is the essence of the minds' eye that creates an image which is imbued with a kind of poetry, very much like the French language. And it is this, which I have actively sought to capture in the images of The Saint Cirq Lapopie Medieval Village Series.
"Every morning, when I get up, I have the impression of contemplating through my window the very best of art, nature and life."
(The French Poet who influenced The Surrealists and lived in the village)