Solstices Project

Gallery - Beija Flor

Erotism of the Bark

~ Version française ~

Ce qu'il y a de plus profond en l'homme, c'est la peau. Paul Valéry

These pictures do not show the immensity of nature, nor do they show the immensely large or the immensely small. In fact, they do not show anything, they exist for themselves, directly, that is to say the subject is not the main concern. Once the viewer has understood it is a tree (and it isn't so easy to see), the bark of a tree (although this particular bark is amazing and complex, molded by the sap within as well as by the external conditions), we can enjoy the special texture of the bark, and especially how the photograph itself becomes bark. These photographs are not images of something, but images in itself, more or less visible parts of the object they represent. In fact, they present more than they represent,and though they are in themselves prints, they are more prints of themselves than prints of something. That's how photography works and this is why the surfaces fill the frame. A photograph is like bark : marked by time worked by chemistries (photography is a modern alchemy), light (photons), acid, temperature, humidity. More than the bark, it is the photograph itself (paper, granularity, brightness...) that is to be considered and enjoyed. The effect (of the photographic process) merges with / its cause : A photograph is a surface which displays a surface. No distance between these two surfaces : they are all the more embedded that the passage from microcosm to macrocosm is immediate and constant : the immensely small of the maze evokes aerial views of deserts, such as aerial photographs evoke the immensely small of the skin.

This confusion of scales and the anti-naturalistic treatment of nature can evoke Ansel Adams who softens the harshness of the great outdoors blending black and white together, creating a warm pattern and a generous granular texture.
The crevices of rock-formations, distant reliefs become as close to us as the pores and the skin folds. The inhumane nature offers sensuous reliefs.
"Softens" an inhuman nature and does not make it familiar, since there is nothing familiar in these photographs and in this nature, nothing of a social circle, enclosed, and somehow predetermined as a family. But intimacy with what is inhumane, and a real pleasure. This intimacy requires a depth from the surface, a projection of our sensory in the maze of the bark. This projection is an intensity of love, or rather, strictly speaking, an erotic matter. Erotic bark. That is to say happy thoroughness in the network of veins.
Black and white or in color, not only according to the desire (the caprice of the game that defines eroticism), but to see - and smell, and touch ("get close"). Beijaflor literally means the "kiss flower" in Brazilian Portuguese, and refers to the hummingbird the wing beat is so fast that it is imperceptible to the eye.
Uppercase and lowercase, this ripple scales is a multiplication of points of view, which intertwine more than they accumulate. Not layers or strata, but the complexity of granularity. Immediately we considerate the vastness of tiny, infinite details, the material and the skin, bark and wrinkles. Macrocosm and microcosm human scale (we as an observer changing the observed object, as in the scientific process of reduction of the wave packet) on the same plane, or at least in the same instant. Incessant telescoping resembling this entanglement of states we are talking about science. Either a time criterion, but the intensity's one.


Beijaflor gives us to see human scale. For example, a tree in the mist of a forest. But again, these are not landscapes itselves, but particularties of landscape. Features and not fragments, because it is not a grind or cutting a whole, but a whole, it is not part of the landscape, but an object : a picture.
There is no desire for illusion of reality, it is not a window, and there is perhaps not cathartic process : no element invites us to immerse ourselves in this picture, nothing plays the role of introducer. And if the mist produces a soft effect, almost a locus amoenus, it is also - by its thickness - a distancing process. In any case, here either, nothing that would remind us familiar look in her mother's lap : the erotic haze value, and eroticism is experienced as an output, a feeling of the other, of others, and one might say, a extranisation. Gaze away from his body to another body, another matter. Output of familiarity to strangeness. The photography object is given to us in its full power prism, talisman, deflecting element. The bar , the tree of a forest, a wood, a campaign. Release territory to another. In Italian we say : to go “in campagna " : in the countryside, inside the countryside. Both outside and inside, as it was both in lowercase and uppercase. The dreamlike power of these photographs, introduced by focusing or mist is not inconsistent with the absence of wonderful, no fantastic element in a certain reality. These photographs are a count of all mythology, any history, for a presentation of intimacy : a direct presentation of the privacy of the material. As for a certain abstract painting, they keep the narrative pattern (" what moves") while dropping the pattern ("subject"). This intimacy of the matter is everyone's privacy, and the details we see, which is to see oneself are the details of our experience , the details - different for everyone - we like to see .

Rodolphe Gauthier - 2013-12


  • Beijaflor

  • Solstices project