For years, one of the axes of Ilka Kramer’s photographic creations has been to capture the link between spaces created by man and nature. Her work on Le Havre transforms and displaces the architecture to question the perception of space and Perret’s work. His photos propose imaginary places in a post-energy dystopia.
Mineral, harmonious, regular. The architecture of Le Havre rebuilt by the Perret workshop is a composition where full and empty alternate, leaving free interpretation to whoever wants to appropriate it. Since 2018, the artist Ilka Kramer surveys the streets, squares, esplanades, promenades of Le Havre, looking for alleys, bushy paths, crossroads, secret passages. This exhibition does not impose to anonymous spectators a linear and rational narrative. On the contrary, it invites to get lost in the meanders of poetic games and unexpected encounters with men, women, real or imaginary animals, weeds and wild flowers growing in the
and wild flowers growing in the interstices of the concrete. Rather than accepting the postulate of the modern project placing man at the center of the architectural and urban space, the artist shifts the reflection to the kingdom of nature. Thus, what is the place of the living in the city? What part do animals and plants play in this environment, originally built for man and the automobile? In order to explore these themes, various techniques were deployed: photographic shots, drawings
collages, models tinkered … The making of the images is visible.
In this eclecticism of the supports are found a certain number of recurring motives: the graceful silhouette of a young girl, the claustra and its distorted version through a fishing net, the yellow disc treated sometimes like a sun or an egg yolk, the giraffe, whether it is a stuffed specimen or a Chinese shadow.
The architecture is treated with the greatest freedom. Here and there we find the identity of Perret’s architecture, with its smooth or fluted columns, its bushhammered concrete, its regular openings. But yet, where is this overwhelmingly monumental space overlooking the horizon? How can these claustras project three sources of light? Is there really a Perret building in the upper town, overlooking the beach and the port? The idea is to question our relationship to architectural space. To do this, the artist builds small models on which are pasted various views of Le Havre.
This three-dimensional space changes back to two dimensions when it is in turn the object of new shots.
In this kaleidoscope of lights and colors, climate change and the necessary adaptation of man to an uncertain future are among the main preoccupations innervating Ilka Kramer’s thought and work. But to the speeches of the
But to the speeches of the most pessimistic collapsologists, it is a city with the airs of a joyful apocalypse which seems to take shape. First of all, homage is paid to the workers of the earth, whose portraits form a triptych. Beyond that, it is an open proposal that leaves everyone free to imagine the city of tomorrow.
Ilka Kramer is a photographer who works on the perception of space. Her projects focus on the link between architectural forms and nature and how man finds his place in them. Studying the correlations between architecture, its natural environment and the human body is for her an observatory to understand the place of the human on earth. Her images are a game with perspectives, scales and dimensions, which are constructed with the help of models, cut-outs and collages, in order to challenge the viewer’s perception, to make him/her doubt what he/she sees in order to move and
and rethink his point of view. An invitation to question our physical and metaphorical relationship to the world.
Of German origin, she studied visual communication at the University of Applied Arts in Dortmund from 1993 to 1999. At the same time she worked as a fashion photographer for German magazines and catalogs. From 2003 to 2013 she lived in the south of France where she worked on advertising commissions for architects, construction sites, furniture designers, wineries… Since 2010 she develops her personal and artistic projects around the notion of space. Her work has been published and exhibited in France, Germany, Switzerland, Latvia, USA, China… She currently lives in Lausanne and in the Drôme.
Ilka Kramer – The crazy grass, the right angle, the horizon and the giraffe. The space of the living in Perret’s Le Havre
Le Forum – House of Architecture of Normandy
48 rue Victor Hugo
Free admission from Tuesday to Saturday: 2pm – 6pm, closed on public holidays.
Le Forum - Maison de l'architecture de Normandie
48 rue Victor Hugo, 76000 Rouen, France
October 16, 2021 to February 26, 2022