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Sophie Ristelhueber
Temporal + spatial + Images
J.D.P.M, March 9, 2009
Sophie Ristelhueber/Sophie Ristelhueber_WB # 7, 2005
Sophie Ristelhueber/Sophie Ristelhueber_WB # 7, 2005
 
Photographic diary

Beyrouth, Photographies, 1984
Empty structures, façades shattered by bullets and shells, and no human presence: far from the pathos and spectacle of war, this series in black-and-white simply records effects and, by linking war ruins to ancient vestiges, makes the ravaged city seem timeless. In 1984 a book of these photographs, with a text by Lucretius from De Rerum Natura, was published by Hazan in Paris and Thames & Hudson in London, provoking strong reactions. This would be the case with several of her emblematic series, in which the medium does not evacuate but mediates the lived reality.

Vulaines, 1989

Chosen from set of even, these three diptychs each combine a recent colour photograph of the artist’s family home, taken from a child’s vantage point, with an enlarged detail of a black-and-white photograph from a family photograph album. The temporal, spatial, technical and formal differences between these images manifest and evoke both the interplay between different periods of time and the construction of memory.

Fait, 1992
During the 1991 Gulf War, Sophie Ristelhueber was intrigued by an aerial photograph of the Kuwaiti desert published in Time Magazine and decided to do a piece of work that would dispense with all notion of scale or difference between the macroscopic and the microscopic. In October that year she travelled over the Kuwaiti desert on foot and by plane, then spent several months selecting 71 images from her many photographs to go into a paperback book and an exhibition of large-format prints. These ephemeral traces of the war on the desert surface bring to mind scars on the body but also the abstraction of Dust Breeding by Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, which is a seminal image for Ristelhueber.


Sophie Ristelhueber/Sophie Ristelhueber,
Sophie Ristelhueber/Sophie Ristelhueber, "Beyrouth, Photographies
 
Every One, # 8 et # 141994
In July 1991, Sophie Ristelhueber travelled to Yugoslavia with writer Jean Rolin. However, she did not come back with photographs of the fighting between Serbs and Croats; instead, two years later, and after much thought, she started work on Every One in a Parisian hospital. Also published in book form, these giant format photographs of bodies bearing their recent stitches, which seem to have no direct link with war, become an allegory.

L’air est à tout le monde I, 1997

“The air belongs to everyone” is a phrase from a game played by Ristelhueber as a child, which she has broken down into 19 small frames, each one containing a letter from the title. Also under this title, the artist has created three different installations [2000-2002], each one consisting of a large-format image installed in the corner of the exhibition space, accompanied by a sound recording made when the photograph was taken.

1999, 1999
To make this very humorous sound (sound, 1’12”) piece, the artist asked an auctioneer in New York State to put the year 1999 up for sale in his customary singsong voice.


Sophie Ristelhueber/Sophie Ristelhueber Every One # 46, 1992
Sophie Ristelhueber/Sophie Ristelhueber Every One # 46, 1992
 
La Liste, 2000
In spring 2000, when asked by the Hôtel des Arts in Toulon to produce a work about the department of Var, Sophie Ristelhueber took 22 large-format colour photographs and stuck them directly on the walls of the space, playing on the relation between interior and exterior. She also asked actor Michel Piccoli to recite a list of over 2,000 department place names, as if this could somehow reassert the region’s identity. Here, as they listen to these names, visitors can see one of those large format photos from La Liste around the picture window affording a view through the Tuileries all the way to the Louvre’s Pavillon de Marsan.

Irak, 2001

In January 2000, during a trip to Iraq, cradle of Mesopotamian civilisation, Sophie Ristelhueber discovered a huge palm grove that had been smashed and charred. She decided that this was the vision she would bring back from her journey. It is presented here in triptych form.

WB, 2005
In winter 2003–04 Sophie Ristelhueber conceived another project dealing with the violent treatment of the earth, this time by observing all the different forms and material used to cut off roads in the West Bank (hence the initials of the title). The score of images here were chosen from the full series of 54.


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