For its 4th edition, the event dedicated to landscape photography in the magnificent medieval building presents the works of five photographers. From Raymond Depardon’s quiet farm to Tania Mouraud’s worrying hayloft, an overview of a year very focused on the wounds of the Earth.
Coming here in the middle of November is like bathing in the mist on the edge of a fairytale castle. The building overlooks the smooth surface of the Loire flowing on the horizon, bordered by immense cedars which give the atmosphere a very singular aura near the yellow leaves strewn across the green grass.
Slip into the vast rooms designed with heavy white stones and see photographs that have in common to try and capture the landscape, to record the panorama we have before our eyes, try magnifying the soul of nature .
This year, in particular, ecological concern was present in the works presented – today inseparable from work on the territory – whether approached head-on or questioned in the background.
Tania Mouraud is exhibiting five series, at least two of which are very visible in this issue. Her work, Balafres, examines the mining of coal in Germany. We see monsters emptying the earth of its coal and giving off thick clouds. Tania Mouraud testifies of the layer of soot that there was on her car just after the shots, terrified by this pollution still so present in Europe.
Other striking images in the following series: the open-air shed of a farmer in Berry. The latter did not want the photographer to keep a trace of these huge bales of straw that he leaves to rot in a corner of his farm in order to resell them for fuel, but Tania Mouraud has made images of them that suggest strange devastated cities, like a backdrop of war.
This form of aberration in the treatment of the living and the gestures of a humanity caught in the turmoil of mass consumption is found in the work of the duo Clark and Pougnaud who went into exile in the countryside after an urban life, in the tribute paid to the peasant world – and to his parents – by Raymond Depardon in 1984 with his work La ferme du Garet or in the work of Edward Burtynsky, Canadian photographer.
From the sky most of the time, the latter photographs emblematic places where a crucial ecological question is being asked, as is the case in Nigeria where overfishing is an unavoidable issue or when he points to oil slicks. from the very serious oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ten years ago.
Strange and bewitching beauty of the wound inflicted on the natural elements. Or even ancient works directly destroyed by human hands. This is the case with the work of Pascal Convert, exhibited in another corner of the castle, dedicated to the Buddhas of Bâmiyân. Statues from the 5th century, they were sprayed with dynamite by the Taliban in March 2001, preceding September 11 of the same year, as a very sad symbol of today’s obscurantism.
Pascal Convert was able to go there in 2016, along with a team of around ten people, in order to make archaeological surveys and bring back images in the form of icons of the disaster. If the rocks are now empty of the Buddhas, we can nevertheless contemplate the beauty of the site and see that even after the destruction there remains something greater. This is what the philosopher and image historian Georges Didi-Huberman points out in a text written for the occasion: “So the children will continue to play in front of the cliff. They will have fun looking – or exploring – the holes that dot it. They know that in the other places are the marks. As on the forehead of the grandfather are the wrinkles, the wounds or the writing of all his history ”.
November 20, 2021 – February 27, 2022
Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire