Interview in Le Journal de la Photographie (magazine defunct)
Begin with this, that these are completely analog photos. You must let that sink in before you look at the work. Jean-Paul Bourdier’s new book
Leap Into The Blue
seems so much a product of the Photoshop age that it is easy to miss one of its signature accomplishments – that everything you see is really happening in the moment and the space before the camera. This is a testament to his skills as a photographer, his imagination and his willingness to commit the time and energy necessary for the realization of these wonderful photographs.
Using no more than models, paint, a few props, mirrors and the landscape Bourdier creates a world of startling color, unexpected reflections, incongruity and…….beauty. I picked a few images to ask him about in hopes of understanding his process and his thinking.98fg98q
AR: Let’s begin with the sketches, because they imply the preparation process. How do you begin to imagine these worlds? How long do you prepare before you begin to shoot? (See image above, page 189 of the book)
JPB: In the beginning, I was mostly interested in discovering and listening to the landscape to see what it would suggest; on-site improvisations were key and there were fewer drawings. Little by little, though, it appeared to me that the landscape was a blank canvas that could be sculpted and painted, and I now prepare a shoot many months in advance, taking with me well over 500 sketches for potential projects.
AR: In the photo on page 189 we are literally in the desert, but where are we in your mind? (See photo “page 189”)
JPB: I enjoy seeing myself caught within this dilemma, and I am first attracted by projects that will undermine, in some ways, the assumptions made by my thoughts that I think of as my “little prisons.” So, I’m interested in constructing situations in which one would ask, “What is this?”, because a question reflects an absence of knowledge and a glimpse into infinite potentials. In such a situation, our rationale may drop out of the picture and leave room for humor or laughter (which, in my view, do not coexist with thinking).
AR: In your pictures, bodies float in space, and the models are unconcerned and relaxed. But knowing how you work, it seems inevitable that gravity is about to take its toll. Are they dancers or gymnasts? How do you actually make these pictures? (See photo “page 187”)
JPB: As human beings, we experience gravity as a fundamental ordering principle in our lives. We are both this heavy body and something vaster that exceeds anything we can label. Science has shown us that matter is empty.
Most of the more than 50 friends who have come with me into the desert are “regular” people; a small number have been involved in sports or dance.
There are a few ways through which one can float in space. It took me over five years to resolve this simple enigma, and I would not like to deprive your readers from the pleasure of solving it themselves. This said, many friends take risks and perform flights without any particular skills.
AR: You mention Botticelli, Dalí, Klimt, Magritte, and other painters. But you are also a teacher of architecture. How does that influence your work? (See photo “page 21”)
JPB: I see architecture as a way to mediate between heaven and earth, and I could say the same about the practice of yoga, dance, or other performance arts. Perhaps because I have been trained as an architect, my mind is obsessed with finding some kind of order in the world around me to balance complementary forces: high and low, right and left, hard and soft, life and death, and so on.
In my work, the tangible first ordering principle of lines is the horizon line (whose specter is the photographic frame); the first ordering principle of colors is the sky, and a major ordering principle of my present work is my relation with what I call our ancestors, while I continue to explore my relationship with geometries, companionship, and the lightness of being.
Part of the web of relationships we have with the world is the realm of the ancestors — I am developing this notion in my upcoming book. These “ancestors” are the painters who have touched me deeply who I would like to pay homage to, through diverse paintings or constructed allusions to their work.
AR: Here and there the landscape has been painted, and these painted figures interact with the models. Who paints the images and are they the results of the places you find, or do you seek out spaces for the images you have prepared? (See photo “page 176”)
JPB: Yes, the models and I participate in painting these images. The nature of a rock can call for a painting that I may or may not have in mind and, occasionally, I may be looking actively for a rock surface that would be ideal for a certain painting.
AR: It’s obvious that there is much preparation here, but also much that is not easy to control. How much is chance a part of your work, and how much is foreseen? (See photo “page 217”)
JPB: I often love to imagine that I am somewhat in control, but I have come to realize that I am just a conduit for thousands of forces that are making the work. Even my sketches and desires are molded by thousands of forces, so the work is continuously making itself. It is a bit like planning a meal; you may have all the ingredients, but the taste is unforeseen.
AR: Here on page 202 is a wonderful image, two faces side-by-side, one inverted. Their eyes are closed and they seem to be communicating telepathically. Can you tell me something about this image? (See photo “page 202”)
JPB: So often I am not listening to the world around me, but also not listening to the world within me. How can I embody this seemingly permanent deafness?
AR: On page 106 there is a remarkable picture, a seemingly endless sheet of water only an inch high. Take a moment to describe how you made this picture, what was it like to be there? (See photo “page 106”)
JPB: As I suggested earlier, the forces of nature are infinite, but the most memorable are the weather changes, which can transform the whole shoot into a dramatic scene within minutes: small tornadoes, sand storms, torrential rains, and winds or flashfloods have often taken us by surprise. We have worked in the winter with temperatures around 10 degrees below Fahrenheit, and in summer above 110 degrees, so a shoot can also be a physical challenge. Often the cliffs or rocks are so hot that my model-friends can only stay in place for 60 seconds, and so a shoot that is usually done in an hour has to be heavily condensed. But in general terms, we are working quite fast with the constant fear of losing the light. This leaves almost no time to contemplate the breathtaking beauty of the desert.
AR: Do you have a favorite image and, if so, what can you say about it? (See photo “page 37”)
JPB: Each image is dear to me, for it represents an answer to a certain question that has been the focus of my passion at a certain point in time. There is, however, one that sticks in mind, that of a woman friend in blue, horizontally floating above the water. I had the idea for years, but could not find a way to make it possible until I bought a small five-dollar tool from a recycling place. I value this project because of the exceptional climatic condition that perhaps happens once every 10 or 20 years and also because it incarnates the notion of humans as a bridge between heaven and earth. Further, this flying, prone body embodies fundamental forces: the material (the body/the apparent life around and within us) and the immaterial (the flying body/all that is unknown about our life, including death), the four cardinal directions that, themselves, correspond to the four seasons, the four colors, the four moods, for example. It also alludes to the question of which gender is really on the cross every day. And is it not said in Asia that everything starts with the crossing of two lines?
As I was going to shoot, I looked down into the viewfinder of my (analog) camera, and became so taken by the stillness and the beauty of it all that I started to cry. After a while, though I heard some sniffling behind me and, as I turned around, I saw that her boyfriend was also crying, moved by the beauty of the scene.
Interview for Photo+
Is to be
1. Your work's main subjects are humans and nature. What do you think about relationship between the two?
A relationship that is consciously thought out is most likely artificial for, on one hand, a thought has little relationship to the act of living and, on the other hand, it creates an object and an observing subject. Humans can easily be seen as separate from the earth as it were. As I walk this earth, I may sometimes feel and realize that earth and body may not be just made out of the same elements, but also that the body may be seen as being born from this earth. This theme has become central in my new book: Leap Into the Blue, and can be condensed in the following question: How can I embody both the sameness and difference of earth and body?
But there are many other themes that are central to the work. I would only name one here: that of the unpredictability of change. I would like to use and adapt here the very Asian idea ( in some traditions) that “events are like arrows meeting in mid-air.” This realization gives rise to the blurring of boundaries between body and earth, and to unpredictable situations, which are hopefully, complemented by humor. As you know, when we smile or laugh we cannot think and, therefore, we may get physically engaged with the work and blur in turn the distinction between ourselves and the object contemplated.
2. The models’ posture looks so wonderful. Are they professional dancers?
Most of the friends that accompany me in the desert are rarely professionals. More and more, though, the physical challenges are becoming greater, particularly with the flying bodies, and friends who have trained in various physical disciplines are now part of the work. I should say, though, that my neighbor, who is 73 and with whom I worked recently, is as welcome as any friends who have no training since they bring to the “paintings,” as I call them, the unexpected performance of someone who is not pausing for the camera, and often bring a particular or open relationship with the surrounding landscape.
As you may have noticed, the position of the body is evoking either an inwardness, a common posture, or a contemplative relation with the earth closer to the ordinariness of being than to the display of a skill or the telling of a narrative or an idea. In other words, when one simply is, there is no projection, there is just the radiance of being. Among other things, the colors painted on the bodies are this very luminosity, for what are we but light? (Incidentally the title of my next book is Body of Light.)
3. How long does it usually take to arrive at photos that you love?
We are usually happy if we do one project a day, but we try to get organized and occasionally manage to do a few more. In many situations, painting or digging the earth may take one full day, and part of the interest is that we only shoot when the project is ready; hence, the light, clouds, or wind are unpredictable elements that are welcome. Occasionally, we “lose” a project to the rain, a sudden sand storm, or an absence of light. We also once decided on a project, painted, and shot it in 15 minutes. So, how long is difficult to answer, for a good majority of projects are sketched during the year and, for those that present great challenges, we have had to wait up to five years before we found the appropriate location or rigging to do it.
4. Some of your models look like avatars.
I am happy that the projects suggest this image for you. In so many traditions, the “magic” of light is equated with avatars or god-like qualities. I am using the term ”magic,” for no one has yet touched light, nor do we know how it travels with a constant speed in a constantly changing universe, among other characteristics. It is only the weight of a majority of institutionalized religions that somewhat prevents us from seeing ourselves as light or fragments of stars. Yes, since it can travel anywhere infinitely, is not light a perfect image for the freedom of being that we all long to live with? One way to materialize our avatar nature is to become the colors that are born with light.
5. Is there any difficulty in your work?
As you well know, for most of us all actions contain their difficulties, however rosy they may appear to our neighbors. If one has a strong ego, then difficulties become a motivation to challenge oneself and, unfortunately, I do not escape this situation. Yes, I love to see us caught in strong winds and torrential rains, unable to move the car out of the mud or sand, seeing our painting work destroyed by the rain, shooting in the snow at temperatures below minus-10 degrees Celsius, or in the heat above 40 degrees, where we easily become dehydrated, for it is truly laughable that we make so much effort for just a small photograph that fits in one’s hand. I suppose I love the earth for showing its love through the situations it presents us with. Another interesting challenge, though, is to see how our personalities change in difficult conditions (traveling comfort is minimal by Western standards), and how we have to accommodate for weeks on end our various moods and frustrations in the very tight space of a single truck. That part, too, is the subject of great laughter.
6. What messages do you want to convey through your work?
One direction may seem banal to some: There is only this slice of life, and every moment exists and disappears at the same time. The list of feelings I would like to convey is infinite, but I will mention a few: challenging gender roles; approaching the intimacy of life and death; seeing painting through the brush strokes of clouds; presenting humans as hyphens between heaven and earth; bringing out the humor of our human confusion; showing our vulnerability; or seeing this body-mind as the eyes and ears of the earth.
I walk this earth
That the landscape
Is outside of this body
As if my parents
Were not inside me…
Let's Go Interview (April 2014)
LG: Jean Paul, your works are tremendous. Will you answer a few questions for our readers, please?
Your work, especially your book Vernacular Architecture of West Africa, has won many awards such as the Guggenheim and Graham. Was this success a predictable thing?
JP: Not at all. I have found success to be elusive and unpredictable, especially if it is broadly defined. Once when I was twenty, my father asked me, “what is your ambition?” to which I replied, “my ambition is to have no ambitions.” Only now have I come to realize what I meant back then! If I pay attention to what I am doing, then I succeed in living this life, without being too entangled in the desires or aversions of my thinking mind. Often I observe my mind projecting dreams into the future, but I also see that worldly success, like money or fame, does not add anything to the quality of being. On the contrary it seems to spoil it, for however much success I may attain, I will always want more. So I try to see through my thoughts, whatever they are, realizing that I do not need to believe them. In this sense there can be a relative kind of success in being free from one's mind – but unfortunately it is not predictable since in my experience it occurs only moment by moment.
LG: You avoid using any digital photo editors, but in spite of this your works seem to lie on the edge of the real world and a fictional one. What is the secret to achieving this kind of feeling?
JP: I avoid digital technology because digital photos are so easily edited in Photoshop that they may automatically be viewed as fiction. I prefer analog photography for it can present a moving field that blurs the distinction between reality and fiction. This blurring can be intensified when one is unsure whether one is looking at an analog photograph or a photoshopped document. In any case, that moving terrain is precisely what we live: we construct reality though our senses and hold it as real, but in the next moment all is gone and what we perceived has already become fiction.
The incongruence of some of the shots adds to the unsettling feeling you may be referring to. In a way I am interested in raising within the viewer the very question that I live with: “what is this?” or “what is it that I perceive?” Living with the sure knowledge of what we already know creates fiction since nothing stays the same, whereas living with questions allows life to bloom unexpectedly as it naturally does. Each of my photographs can be seen as opening into questioning and inquiry.
This edge you mention could also come from other dimensions. I tend to exclude recognizable spaces or scale in contexts where the desert is prevalent. In the context of our societies we tend to relate primarily to objects, so facing an absence of reference to space or recognizable elements appears otherworldly; but could it also be true that in the desert we are more open to being reminded of who we truly are: an infinite all-encompassing unknowable self?
LG: The models you are working with are very flexible. Are they professional acrobats?
JP: In general, no. I am grateful to any friend who is generous enough to spare some time to be in these projects – my neighbor who is seventy-two or anyone else – since I am primarily interested in both the wonder and the banality of being. In recent years, however, I have worked with a few friends who are athletes or very flexible and this has helped in the flying shots or anything that requires physical strength, as seen in my last book, Leap Into The Blue.** In general, I adapt to the particular rhythm of each performer and I am happy if they are just standing doing nothing since the entire project stems from one question: what is it to be on this earth?
LG: You work on sketches before taking the pictures. What is the approximate time you need to take only one picture?
JP: The time to take a picture is quite insignificant in comparison to the time spent in preparing each shot. Usually we are happy to do one picture per day, but we are often able to do more if we are organized enough to prepare several projects at once. Only rarely do we wait unsuccessfully the whole day for the light.
LG: In talking about the book Bodyscapes you mentioned a problem with the paint – that it didn't last very long on bodies. How did you overcome this problem?
JP: I do not remember the context, but perhaps I meant that the paint is quite ephemeral. As I see it, the potential changes in the appearance of the paint (from erasure, running, visible brush strokes) are a testimony to the particular conditions we are working with – the temperature, humidity, sweat and exhaustion, etc. In its imperfections, the paint therefore presents a vivid trace of the human work behind each shot.
LG: This may seem strange to you but in Russia the exposure of naked bodies – which is an inseparable part of your work – is quite controversial. Have you faced any hypocritical sort of reaction during your photo sessions or exhibitions?
JP: We come into this world naked and are likely to leave it naked as well. In between birth and death, institutionalized religions and the apparatus of the state (mostly dominated by men) have organized control over women’s bodies and elaborated all kinds of rules to keep men in control as well. In this context the other (here mostly women) can easily be demeaned to an object limited to its sensual or sexual value.
But if we realize that body/mind and men/women are a single unity, can we set aside our objectification of the body and see it for just what it is, in the same way that we look at the body of a young child without labeling or sexualizing our perception?
Up to now, I have not had any negative reactions but then I am not close to the clergy or politicians.
LG: Searching your pictures on the web I found different kinds of viewer's comments, including some on the order of “I didn't get the author's idea.” Do you put any meaning into your work? Or do you just take pictures for the sake of taking pictures?
JP: I am glad some viewers are unable to put any meaning into the work, for meaning is not necessary to contemplate a tree, a cloud or a mountain, nor to contemplate a painting, a musical piece or a photograph. One could also observe that there is no necessary similarity in feelings or thoughts between the reader of a poem and the author/poet for example.
Otherwise yes, there are many elements that are relentlessly present in the work from my perspective and I will name a few here:
Do appearances determine the way things are?
How do the horizontal and the vertical fundamentally structure our lives? How is this body related to heaven and earth? What is Light? Is this body/mind finite or infinite? Are trees, rocks and stars any different from what we are?
And since one question opens onto other questions, I could go on and on forever.
LG: You have done photo sessions in the Americas and in Africa and perhaps other places as well. Are there places you would like to visit for photographing? Or places where you wanted to work but did not for some reason?
JP: My spouse, Trinh Minh-ha, and I have made many movies around the world, but all the photography and painting work related to the body has been done in the deserts of the western United States. Now I wish only to do this work in the U.S. and no longer want to travel anywhere since I do not have the funds to organize expeditions abroad.
LG: Do you have a favorite among the pictures you have taken?
JP: The one on the back cover of Bodyscapes. It is precious to me because it epitomizes my work. In the picture the photographer is watching the landscape and the backs of two women sitting, who are themselves watching the landscape. The picture embodies a question that seems essential in my own life: who is feeling this beingness, who is watching?
LG: Do you revise your works? What are your very short steps in taking a photograph?
JP: The work is constantly changing and I rarely redo a project unless my camera malfunctions. Although I do have sketches for an infinite number of projects, I never know how they could be affected by the landscape or by my friends’ suggestions or performances. I have no short steps: I take the time that is needed on the spot. In the desert, time becomes elastic and one can seamlessly enter no-time or no-space since they are one and the same.
Interview with Oznat, hDL (March 2014)
1. What is the main idea of your art? what is your Inspiration – in life, and in your art?
J-P A glimpse into anything that we may deem artistic is usually attractive if it brings us to a moment of no-thought. There are naturally many other instances when our thinking evaporates. When we laugh or are surprised for example we could notice that we are not thinking of past or present and become aware, or simply relax into the present moment. This state may just be called “being” and one of my interest through this work is to remind ourselves that in this state of being, our mind expands and we do not see the separations, we are accustomed to (13). In other words, we do not attach labels to things or people around us and the boundaries between our bodies and the universe may be hard to find (15).
Nowadays my life is mostly inspired by my teaching and the creative production of these photographs.
My inspiration for the photographs (that I call paintings) comes in various forms, it may appear as an intuitive vision, as a transformation of what I find in my daily life or the books I wrote on African vernacular architecture, or as a collaboration with my performer friends, or simply while listening to what I feel the landscape is telling me.
2. Can you describe your work process on these pictures you send us? techniques, looking for the right spots, Make-up and etc… what is the background of this project?
J-P One of the most interesting part of the work is to walk in the landscape, hoping to come across a place eliciting a poetical encounter between the performers, colors, and the framing of a photograph. Poetry here is only a means to indirectly allude to being, as I said earlier, but also to critically contemplate (occasionally with humor) some aspects of our relationship with our mind’s framing (17), my own obsessions with geometries (1, 4, 5,17), the subtle sky-body (12,14), myths (11), trees (13), water (18) or the earth for example. (6, 8,10, 15)
In general, my teams and I, are not very concerned with techniques (I still only use analog photography) and most of the practices we now use to apply the colors are very simple and come from trials and errors; I am especially fond of errors and accidents since they remind me that everything happening does not come from any particular center, as my mind would like to believe.
The background is grounded in the earth, in every performer’s ability (in the most recent book Leap Into the Blue many friends are flying), but also in drawings. Every day for example, we draw our inspiration from the assemblage of perhaps less than a thousand sketches that I did over the past ten years or so, all compiled following particular locations.
But if by background you mean the evolution of the work, I could say that I started sculpting with sand and ice forty years ago, and it slowly evolved into land art with pigments (the subject of two books that I would like to publish), and now land art with the painted body. Color (or light), as suggested by the title of a next book called Body of Light is a means to perceive the body as having both the (unfathomable) quality of light and the (apparently fathomable) quality of matter.
3. What do you think about people in your pictures, what is the connection between human and nature here? And do you have a message?
J-P B I used to think that this body-mind was separate from everything around but my experience now is that it is part of a continuum. The air I breathe is breathed by everyone else, the earth I stand on gives birth to this body and everyone else’s (6, 8). All elements of this planet are so intimately interrelated that not a single thing could be taken out of our environment without bringing the whole planet with it. We may realize this, either by contemplating nature or by listening to our scientist friends who have now long spoken about the “butterfly effect”, whereby the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in South America for example, contributes to the appearance of a tornado in North America. In this situation, rather than a message, I would like to see the work as evoking the experience of being infinitely larger than the small self I often think I am.
4. Are their special repeating symbols in these pictures?
Any viewer may see these photos differently; from my point of view, there may be many repeating graphic reoccurences but, in this selection of pictures, I am only aware of the box or square as an equivalent to my small mind (1, 6, 8, 17). We are naturally framed by it, as we are by rectangular book pages, television or computer screens, beds, mirrors, seats, floors and the frame of photographs.
I am interested in bringing forth what cannot be named or what we are: the apparent continuous framing that allows us to proceed in our day to day life, with its other untangible or eternal side.
5. Please explain me the combinations of images in these pictures, how did you choose them?
J-P Your editor kindly choose the images from the book Bodyscapes and it could be said that his choice has a slight emphasis on photographs that present “action”. As I see it, a main thrust of the work includes being silent, unmoving, watching, looking inside (8, 15, 16). But a reader may also see in some of these photos, both aspects ( apparently passive and active) moving as a single body, especially if one feels the presence of the earth and sky.
6.Do your images come from dreams or other unconscious areas in you?
I do not know if they would come from both of these areas but I do seek inspiration from painting masters of the West or ancient civilizations (from Egypt to 20th century painters). Recently I looked a couple of time on the wall of Face Book ( which my brother kindly takes care of for me) and found a lot of inspiring visuals that are the seeds for future works.
Much of the work however, as I suggested earlier, is springing out of the feeling of being touched by a particular place, stone or tree, hence walking is a fundamental springboard for creativity, as I let the world enter me at every step. As I may become the earth, it is also somewhat easier to see what it may want to bear.
7. What do you feel when you make art? Do you surprise yourself at your art – at the process or the results? What surprises you? Give me some examples from these pictures
J-P We have a very small team totaling three to four at the maximum, in which we all do everything and I am most of the time caught in the making of each project, with little time to visually contemplate or appreciate the situation. That being said, the feeling of being totally present and of doing something that seems at first sight quite impossible to achieve (and in that sense very close to the making of the films we have made), is quite unique if I compare it to spending my life doing email. Yes I am often amazed by the process, for we advance in darkness and rely on a lot of improvisation while being continuously on a hurry (2, 11,17), constrained by the sun’s path, extreme heat or cold, limited physical manpower, vulnerable to tornadoes, dust storms, flashfloods and the like.
I may often be surprised as well when I look at the pictures, for interesting paintings may have been done without plans (3,4), or when I realize a friend’s courage (11), or their resistance to cold (8) to name a few.
yes, I am always surprised, especially when I look in the camera and all the sensory agitation around the project falls off. This invariably makes me giggle for my mind is always taken aback by the fact that the results never match, and in general exceed its projections. It brings to mind the (Jewish?) saying: “if you want to make God laugh , tell him of your plans”.
Text for 180 Magazine (October 2013)
I have not entered the profession of photographer directly. I was somewhat aware of the practice since half of my family has been in the profession for generations, and I was not planning to follow in the steps of my father or granfathers.
My passion for seeing and recording traditional dwellings around the world indirectly took me back into photography, which besides drawings, was a main element of the books I produced such as the most recent title: Vernacular Architecture of West Africa. My deepest passion was to catch the striking character of interior light and the sensuality of forms. This persistent passion is not so far from my present production since a dwelling is built , much in the same way as a garment, as an extension of the body. Perhaps I most attracted now to an intimacy with the primary element that cannot be reduced, here the body, very much like the grains of sand or pigments that I have been working with, in parallel to the present work, for the last forty years and whose photographs have not been published yet .
The body attracts me for an infinite number of reasons and I could expose here a couple of them. As a most intimate dwelling it is the site of our experience , including our mind, and the condition for our imprisonment as well as freedom. Through garments, the body has been divided in the West into an upper and lower part and, since it is mostly covered we may have forgotten or simply ignore it’s fundamental strength or beauty as well as its fundamental relation with the four elements that form this planet: earth, fire, water, air . Since I see the body as being made with the same particles as light ( atoms are made of intangible particles), it is natural for me to emphasize it’s light character through colors. Colors are here an amusing twist since they give us the illusion of a tangible body which , by it’s very nature is as empty as light is. Further, I see colors as a reference to the armor of our ego ready to set itself against any situation or melt in the landscape depending on the situation.
Most projects are also an experiencing of the intimate interrelation between all parts of our environment, including the most expected or unexpected. I could also add that the projects presented here, through the incongruity of the notes they may strike, are a close reminder of the preciousness of every instant .It is also remarkable that this preciousness would be further emphasized by the instantaneousness of the photo.
Yes, the work could be seen as exploring the infinite possibilities of every moment, including any situation from war to peace or happiness and sorrow but without any narrative. I would be delighted if, rather than narratives, these photographs would raise questions such as : “what is this, what are the relations, what is the experience, why do I need to label everything ? “, for in this situation mind is curious and free from it’s acquired knowledge.
There are other questions though that are significant to the work and the potential exploration of each viewer, especially those that are related to our place in the universe : “how do we , as humans, relate to heaven and earth; what are the limits of this body; if a mountain is made of the same atoms as the body is, how dissimilar are we from one another; how related are we to our ancestors, is language a necessary ingredient to our experiences; what is the place of humor ?”.
Perhaps a larger aspiration is to mix painting , photography and performance so as to escape sacro-saint “ meaningfulness “and fall into a space that is closer to music, where sound eshews our propensity to label or “make sense”.
Trees, clouds and stars do not move with “sense”, they simply ARE meeting each other with the perfect unpredictability of “arrows meeting in the air”; it is that very crossing of many trajectories ( of the colors , the performance, the earth, the “designs”, for example) that emulates every part of my work, yes a sign or billboard that manifests that all is incomprehensible and a great mystery.
Copies of Leap into the Blue a limited edition book and print set and original signed photographs are available at volakisgallery.com.
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