The gallery L’Angle presents in Hendaye the work of Aurélien David. His exhibition BeLeaf & Chlorophyllians is anchored in a biological and ecological thought while dialoguing with the history of photography through its photographic processes.
Aurélien David’s work reveals a metamorphosis, that of our own transformation into something else that would no longer be ourselves, to the point that we can no longer recognize ourselves… Through the use of natural photographic processes such as the anthotype used as an overlay for his BeLeaf series, or Hooker’s Green used to enhance his images for his latest series Chlorophyllians, the photographer speaks to us about the abandonment of what makes us Human. Paradoxically, by merging his subjects with plants, he alerts us to our abandonment of Gaia, Mother Earth, and to the progressive loss of our relationship to the Other, to Being, to the Living. From his experiences gleaned from communities in West Africa, and through a photography that could be described as humanistic, expressed in a simple – but not simplistic – form, the artist deals with these abandonments that threaten us, but also with the solutions that are available to us, such as the strength of the collective – as opposed to individualism – and of an ecological consciousness that is evolving towards a more eco-social form. Thus, through a research work where photography supports the thought of philosophers of Life, Aurélien David leads us to consider an urgent and vital mutation that must lead us from biomorphism to biopolitics.
“BeLeaf visits the plant that is in us. As he travels on his sailboat, Aurélien David casts an animistic eye on his contemporaries, inviting them to play the protagonists of a tribal tale, in which they gradually metamorphose into plants. By photographing people in different regions of West Africa with the same protocol, he draws a universal fresco (…). Thanks to the sun and the chlorophyll, the faces have the singularity of being revealed in a natural way, directly on tree leaves, to become the masks of a ritual. The combination of the photographer’s choices leads the viewer to a certain type of reading and to make what he calls an “anthropomorphic effort”, to look for the Human in the Vegetal. An invitation to rethink our relationship with Nature.
“I like to think that the world could collapse at any moment, it’s just that so far, it hasn’t happened” – John Baldessari
Chlorophyllians is an anticipatory photographic narrative in which ex-humans have completed́ their plant mutation to become other beings, diluting identitý and ego into the chlorophyll flesh of the Living. These are mostly genre scenes from the pictorial tradition, sometimes more dreamlike, made in West Africa between 2020 and 2022, during two sailing trips. The images are printed on bamboo fiber paper and enhanced with Hooker’s Green, a pigment named after the English botanist who created it in the 19th century. The brushstrokes are slightly visible, suggesting the movement of chlorophyll fluids running through these beings – and their vitality – having made the choice to free themselves from their destructive human condition, by espousing the plant wisdom practiced by the plants, whose “no gesture of their action has any effect outside themselves” (1). This is how the Chlorophyllians seem to live out of time: they have effectively abandoned human time to adopt plant time. A mutation not without difficulty, this thought having required a long apprenticeship, because “to learn from plants is first to unlearn the objectifying approach of the world” (2), offering a decisive counterpoint to the romantic and bygone “disenchantment of the world” of Max Weber.
Aurélien David was born in 1983 in Senlis, and lives and works in Nantes. After training in ethnology and at the ICART Photo Paris school, he developed a chlorophyll writing during his sailing trips, mixing beliefs and techniques to produce a relational aesthetic of the living, questioning our representation of the environment. Since 2012, his workshops allow the diffusion of the photosensitive power of plants. He has exhibited, among others, at the Biennale Mediterranea 16 (Ancona, Italy), at the creation center La Compagnie, the Photographic Center of Marseille (Polyptych Prize, Marseille), at the Jardin des Plantes of Rouen (La Ronde#5), at the Quai des savoirs (Toulouse) or at Fotofever Paris 2021 with the gallery L’ANGLE. In the summer of 2022, he won the 3rd prize at the festival Arles Expo le Off 2022, under the presidency of Olivier Föllmi.
6, rue des Citronniers 64700 Hendaye
Tel. 06 80 06 28 57
Open from Thursday to Saturday: 11am/13pm – 3pm/19pm and Sunday: 11am/13pm
Or by appointment
Opening of the exhibition in the presence of the photographer, Saturday, October 8 at 6:30 pm.
6, rue des Citronniers, 64700 Hendaye
October 06, 2022 to November 13, 2022