Nocturnal Landscapes (8 Fevrier 1999) and (9 Fevrier 1999)

1999, black & white cibachrome in lightbox, 100 x 160 x 20 cm

Beyond theoretical considerations and from a purely empirical standpoint, one may ascertain that the issue at hand is duration rather than slowness merely by contemplating the photographic works David Claerbout makes sporadically, like punctuation marks amid his film installations. For the most part, the photographs depict landscapes, but not solely (such as Geiser in 1999 and Orchestra in 2001). These dark images are mounted in lightboxes and displayed in total darkness and thus only take shape after a necessary visual accommodation and specific duration that gives rise to a slow pictorial revelation. Such optic revelation depends as much on the eye’s physiological constraints as on the sense of impatience prompted by images that do not immediately come into view and literally seem to leap out from the mists of time. Other photographs, backlit by a powerful theater projector, have the opposite effect in blinding the viewer who, by reverse adaptation, must wait for his ocular cells to tolerate the intense overexposure so as to see the image. See the three photographs from the series Mist Over a Landscape made in 2002 and 2003. (Jean-Charles Vergne)  




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