This summer, while visiting the Musée Nicéphore Niépce in Chalon-sur-Saône, France, I had the pleasure of seeing work that really excited me (in addition to amazing artifacts from Photography’s Pioneer Niépce). Des Mondes Possibles, by French born Mathieu Bernard-Reymond was a retrospect of diverse, prolific and extraordinary works. Blurring the boundary between truth and fiction – the photographs are usually highly manipulated or employ some CGI – not only for aesthetic reasons but generally because the technique references the topic. In N°31, tv series for example, Bernard-Reymond describes that the “TV is a photographic experiment about the association of two very different materials: the raw and unfaithful grain of tv screens and the sharper image from an analogic background. In the urban scenes each window as been replaced by a T.V. screen. Human or animal figures wandering in the scenes also directly come from Television programs.”
For the series “Vous Etes Icic” (You are here), he depicts photographs of tourists discovering the landscape around them. He moves them around within an artificial environment. According to his website: “This new setting is created on the basis of the picture of the tourist. His shapes and tones give the various altitudes of the mountains; the colours of the landscape are those of the model’s clothes. Within the environment thus obtained, I look for a point of view, in which I then replace the character. The model becomes the landscape which he discovers. I like to see this as an illustration of the romantic conception of landscapes.” In Monuments, he uses CGI and analogue photography montaged to show existing economical charts and data visualizations to render artificial architectural accidents. The results are stunning and realistic.
Bernard-Reymond, as far as I can tell from his CV, has never shown his work in the US. He won the “Prix No Limit” award at The Recontres d’Arles in 2005 – but I wasn’t there that year to see it! See more of his work online at: http://www.monsieurmathieu.com/