Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Painting with numbers

It has been a long time since I last mentioned Mathieu Bernard-Reymond on these pages, and he has been producing some excellent work over the last few years. One remarkable series is Monuments, a sequence of black and white images in which Reymond transformed financial charts and other kinds of statistics into physical objects placed in the landscape, shown as pieces of land art or as memorials (just a remainder: check this old post to find a strikingly similar work by Michael Najjar).

Monuments perfectly represents Reymond's idea of photography, the contamination of a consolidated tradition of natural and urban landscape with a highly sophisticated use of digital manipulation. The goal is to create a new level of vision, where the openly unreal content of the image is presented in such a realistic fashion that it becomes plausible.

The use of digital made by Bernard-Reymond is one of the best examples of how photography can finally learn to stop worrying and love it once and for all, setting aside speculations on which should be the truest form of the photographic image and using digital as the instrument allowing the photographer to imagine a photograph and then proceed to create it as freely as possible from physical constraints.

Photography has often been naively described as the act of using a paintbrush of light, but perhaps with Bernard-Reymond we have one of those cases where the definition finally fits, as his images share the clinical precision of details we ascribe to photography, and yet they take us to a different dimension, where the world as we know it is silently reinvented.

All images © Mathieu Bernard-Reymond

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