88_DO08_Morisset_Sauvage_Plein soleil
Ludovic Sauvage Plein soleil, 2014.
Photo : courtesy of Galerie Escougnou-Cetraro

I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust…Landscape in the Worksof Ludovic Sauvage

Vanessa Morisset
A traditional genre in painting and photography, and featuring prominently in many lengthy film sequences that place nature at the fore, landscape is intrinsically linked with the image. Yet, for Saunderson, the blind philosopher cited by Diderot, being unable to see or to perceive nature, landscape does not exist.1 1 - Denis Diderot, Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See, trans. Margaret Jourdain (Chicago and London: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1916), accessed June 21, 2016, http://tems.umn.edu/pdf/Diderot-Letters-on-the-Blind-and-the-Deaf.pdf. More precisely, the blind philosopher argues against the existence of God based on the beauty and harmony of nature. On the one hand, he cannot see it; on the other, he himself embodies imperfection and the disruption of this harmony.

Beyond the question of the visual, however, is the notion of shaping the landscape, which also implies some form of human intervention. In his Court traité du paysage, Alain Roger describes this combination of natural and artificial using a term borrowed from Montaigne: the artialisation of nature, which the theorist understands as both a real in situ intervention (for example, the shaping of trees into geometric shapes in French formal gardens) and an in visu representation (notably, by adopting specific viewpoints and compositions).2 2 -  Alain Roger, Court traité du paysage (Paris: Gallimard, 1997), 16. And with the evolution of the image from the mechanical to the digital, representing landscape has become as much — if not more — about technique as about nature. In many respects, Ludovic Sauvage explores these wide-ranging considerations by deconstructing and reassembling landscape features in experimental ways. By creating devices comprising analogue elements such as slides and projections, or digital animation (including 3D), his works give insight into the historicity of the formation of contemporary landscapes, linking them with the evolution and circulation of images. Above all, he plays with photographic negatives to invent new aesthetic arrangements, by shifting motifs from one medium to another, for example, or by extrapolating a component at the juncture of landscape and image: namely, light. In this way, landscape is placed at the crossroads of questions about contemporary collective representations, while being revisited using an approach that springs equally from painting, cinema, and the digital arts.

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This article also appears in the issue 88 – Landscape - Landscape

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