You are the Landscape. Mona Kuhn's Series Bordeaux

"Votre âme est un paysage choisi"
Verlaine, Clair de lune

Mona Kuhn, Maison N°1, Gelatin Silver Print, 96,5 x 182,8 cm 
2  Mona  Kuhn, Portrait 4Chromogenic Print, 38,1 x 38,1 cm,  
Mona  Kuhn, Paysage N°6, Gelatin Silver Print, 38,1 x 38,1 cm, 
Mona  Kuhn, Portrait 9, Chromogenic Print, 38,1 x 38,1 cm, 2011 

Mona Kuhn, Paysage N°4,  Gelatin Silver Print, 38,1 x 38,1 cm 
All photographies belong to Bordeaux Series, 2011, © La Galerie Particulière

Mona Kuhn was born in São Polo, Brazil. She is now living in Los Angeles but spends her summers in a French house in the countryside near Bordeaux. Nestled in a pine forest, the house is lit only by oil lamps and candles. The series Bordeaux is strongly connected to the house, its landsape, and particuliar light. "This series is really about the richness of the people in them. I photographed all of the portraits in the same room and the light that would fall in the room was between 5 and 7 pm. I always had people come over, either staying with me or stopping by to visit. I would ask them to please come over around 4:00 or 4:30." The idea of the series  came with the Bordeaux colour which represents for the artist sexuality and passion and timelessness. "The room had just that one chair. I shot two or three rolls of film of each person, carefully shooting slow and going one at a time. Some peopleI just photographed once, some people I photographed during the course of two or three summers." She paid much attention to the special quality of light in the house and its surroundings. "Over the years I’ve collected a few oil lamps at the little estates around the area. Some are really really old and gorgeous, some are from friends in Amsterdam, rural French oil lamps, and maybe Dutch with copper bottoms and fragile glass tops. I’ve used them before in the Evidence work. Towards the very end of the book there are a few images that are shot in the dark that have maybe a rim of light on the side of the person and that comes from an oil lamp. If I put two of them in the living room, by the time you turn on the third one, it’s too much." The poetic of the landscape and the intricate patterns of the skies and paths  around the house  matters very much to her. It projects on her models a maze like feeling that she tried to capture by confronting the motif of the  nude and the motif of the landscape. "They are landscapes I took of the region in-between the portraits, to inform a little bit about the area. When I had the beautiful light, I was photographing my friends. When it was raining, and there are a lot of summer thunderstorms that go though there, I would go out and photograph the thunderstorms. A couple of them are dramatic thunderstorms images and large clouds and high contrast, and some are of pathways that create this idea where this room is where all the people have gathered. So you have a little bit of a mazelike feeling with the landscapes that lead somewhere, but you don’t know where."*

*Quotes by Mona Kuhn taken from her conversation with Elizabeth Avedon, Mona Kuhn Talks to Elizabeth Avedon in La Lettre de la Photographie, France, Nov 2011.

Exposition à La Galerie Particulière du 31 mai au 11 août 2012
16 rue du perche 75003 Paris 

Bordeaux Series by Mona KuhnSteidl

1 comment:

  1. Very evocative description of the house, Bordeaux the light.