UP THE GARDEN PATH
One can recognize, in the images of Brigitte Bauer, a divide between the strong attention she pays to architecture, and a deep interest in the surrounding landscape, or more precisely in places and what they hold in terms of spoor and history. On the one hand we discern a focus on design, on construction, on spatial composition, all of which call for a certain abstraction, not to say timelessness; and on the other, an emphasis on that which makes a place specific and an instant unique, the perceptible sign of a moment experienced in real time. The photographs exploit the paradoxical complementarity of this relationship, albeit without defusing its freight of conflict or erasing its contradictions.
What holds on and even imposes itself as a harmonious entity is also subverted by the presence of a dissociative force, a discreet tendency to disperse and clash. Of course this has something to do with chance and accident but it also comes from the sly input of the photographer, who slips into the field of vision a tiny roil, an element of play that comes close to stage direction. Here this inner skew gives rise to a narrative strategy, the jumping-off point for potential imaginings. Bauer's garden is a garden of meanders that cause us to move from one place to another thanks to a continuity that is in some ways virtual, always actualized in movement and travel, but powered by its own logic and energy—a logic and energy that are visual, or more precisely photographic. We are led on a ramble that takes us to sites always precisely situated through their relationship to buildings, to the sea, to a landscape, yet never trapped in a specific geographical locale. Seen this way, we are a thousand miles from a 'catalogue raisonné'. What's in play here has more to do with the succession of images, of editing in the quasi-cinematic sense of the term.
Exhibition presented in the context of the "Contemporary Images/ heritage" program co-produced by the Bouches-du-Rhône general council and the Factotum, with the support of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regional council, the city of Arles, the Musée Départemental de l’Arles Antique and coordinated by Justine Flandin.
Prints by Voies Off, Arles.
Framings by Voies Off, Arles.
New book "Aller aux jardins", Trans Photographic Press editions, 2012.