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Montagne Sainte-Victoire
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  • Landscape painting’s mountain

    The almost constant presence of mountains in the background of classical landscape paintings has intrigued me for quite some time. Whether it be in the paintings of Nicolas Poussin or those of Claude Le Lorrain, Philippe de Champaigne, Jacob van Ruysdaël, Pierre Patel, Le Dominiquin and still others, it is in fact one and the same mountain, a certain from springing up out of the horizon that recurs without refrain. I know that the presence of these distant summits can be explained through symbolic reasons or composition’s needs. And though I also know that this type of mountain has belonged to the repertoire of landscape elements for quite a long time, it seems to possess something more.
    It is beginning with the mountain in the background that the landscape seems to take shape, and it is on the mountain that the gaze always returns. It is both the starting and end point. Its constancy and variations have become familiar to me, even necessary. Here, the mountain is called Sainte-Victoire. Although loaded like no other place with pictorial and literary references, this places is decidedly charming (in the manner one might speak of a magician working a charm). This limestone mass springing up from the plain, these constantly changing colors, these paths which invite one to wander and yet keep us at bay. How to speak of these when one considers that all the descriptions applied to this place have become so terribly banal? And yet, it is difficult to resist the charm, and it is impossible to grasp all at once, in one lone image.
    The idea of a series imposed itself from the start, for the initial wonder asked to be renewed, I often have to go back to this place to look and try to understand why I remain under the charm. For it is also true that sometimes the mountain’s grasp becomes too strong. It weighs me down and gets on my nerves. And then I return. As the quantity of images and the multiplicity of viewpoints amount little by little, the change of seasons and variations in light transform this mountain into a landscape one cannot encircle and whose diversity one cannot exhaust. Photographing the Sainte-Victoire – which ultimately steals away and remains inaccessible- is to infinitely raise those questions indispensable to images dealing with form, color, light, construction. I wanted only to photograph a mountain, and it has turned into a veritable apprenticeship on things dealing with landscape. Might the Sainte-Victoire’s charm not be the fact that it is all the mountains, that it is the mountain in the background of landscape paintings?

     

    Brigitte Bauer

     

    (text from the book "Montagne Sainte-Victoire", éditions Images en Manoeuvres, Marseille 1999)


    Montagne Sainte-Victoire
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    sans titre, 1992 (01-09)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1992 (01-11)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1992 (15-05)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1992 (32-01)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1992 (32-02)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1992 (32-11)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1993 (21-05)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1993 (23-08)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1993 (24-09)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1993 (31-04)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1993 (32-01)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1993 (33-01)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1993 (36-03)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1993 (36-08)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1994 (30-01)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1994 (43-10)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1994 (45-11)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    sans titre, 1994 (50-02)

    C-print, cadre bois, 80 x 80 cm

    Edition de 5



    Montagne Sainte-Victoire
    1992-1994

    Landscape painting’s mountain

    The almost constant presence of mountains in the background of classical landscape paintings has intrigued me for quite some time. Whether it be in the paintings of Nicolas Poussin or those of Claude Le Lorrain, Philippe de Champaigne, Jacob van Ruysdaël, Pierre Patel, Le Dominiquin and still others, it is in fact one and the same mountain, a certain from springing up out of the horizon that recurs without refrain. I know that the presence of these distant summits can be explained through symbolic reasons or composition’s needs. And though I also know that this type of mountain has belonged to the repertoire of landscape elements for quite a long time, it seems to possess something more.
    It is beginning with the mountain in the background that the landscape seems to take shape, and it is on the mountain that the gaze always returns. It is both the starting and end point. Its constancy and variations have become familiar to me, even necessary. Here, the mountain is called Sainte-Victoire. Although loaded like no other place with pictorial and literary references, this places is decidedly charming (in the manner one might speak of a magician working a charm). This limestone mass springing up from the plain, these constantly changing colors, these paths which invite one to wander and yet keep us at bay. How to speak of these when one considers that all the descriptions applied to this place have become so terribly banal? And yet, it is difficult to resist the charm, and it is impossible to grasp all at once, in one lone image.
    The idea of a series imposed itself from the start, for the initial wonder asked to be renewed, I often have to go back to this place to look and try to understand why I remain under the charm. For it is also true that sometimes the mountain’s grasp becomes too strong. It weighs me down and gets on my nerves. And then I return. As the quantity of images and the multiplicity of viewpoints amount little by little, the change of seasons and variations in light transform this mountain into a landscape one cannot encircle and whose diversity one cannot exhaust. Photographing the Sainte-Victoire – which ultimately steals away and remains inaccessible- is to infinitely raise those questions indispensable to images dealing with form, color, light, construction. I wanted only to photograph a mountain, and it has turned into a veritable apprenticeship on things dealing with landscape. Might the Sainte-Victoire’s charm not be the fact that it is all the mountains, that it is the mountain in the background of landscape paintings?

     

    Brigitte Bauer

     

    (text from the book "Montagne Sainte-Victoire", éditions Images en Manoeuvres, Marseille 1999)