Arnaud Lesage’s series of photographs do not stem from a pre-existing project and are not destined to be completed – in the sense of having a definitive end put to them. The compositions are not limited to a specific subject, realm or even specific timeframe. Au contraire! They create for possibilities and are part of the wider flux of a perpetual creative process. Lesage’s work emerges from a process split between two phases: that of photographing, then that of assembling his images in-studio to explore the links and associations that surface between them.
If Arnaud Lesage uses landscape to obtain materially tangible components for his work, it is actually the journeys he takes to obtain these images that constitute an irreplaceable territory of photographic exploration and discovery. What truly matters to the artist belongs to another realm: his mind’s journey commences upon his own physical return, as he sows his freshly-taken pictures throughout his archives. For this process, Lesage turns his studio into a development laboratory to structure and form series of all the pictorial moments he has collected. The artist’s studio thus becomes another territory to explore, a new ‘archival continent’ and cornerstone aspect of this artist’s approach.
Several weeks of research and experimentation were for instance required to create a few Anatopées series’ assemblages, extracted from some 10,000 samples that visually appear simply vertical. The images, both in this series as in others, remain independently legible, but the ensuing combinatory process transforms their nature. Associations create new potential for reading these images, and what they reveal collectively surpasses what they conveyed singularly. Lesage’s artworks in essence stem from processes of assembling, splitting, repeating, and intertwining. Time and space between photographs indeed lend themselves to the final result as full-fledged materials.