In French photographer Pierre-Louis Ferrer’s vibrant photographs, Dordogne, France is transformed into an enchanted land bathed in canary yellow. Ferrer’s colorful photographs illustrate the country’s idyllic topography, where the leaves upon the trees, fresh grass, and sculpted shrubbery are captured in the same vivid color.
While photographing, Ferrer takes time to observe his environment and decide on the best photographic technique to use. For his Dordogne photographs, Ferrer used an infrared photography technique which allowed him to capture the landscape in brilliant yellows. “My artistic approach is based on the invisible and imperceptible,” Ferrer tells Colossal. “I work with invisible parts of light (infrared and ultraviolet) and with techniques like long exposure to offer alternative views of our world.”
This yellow effect in Ferrer’s Dordogne photographs is due to a mix of visible and infrared light, and each plant species appears different depending on how it reacts to the light. “I use a selective filter that let’s pass a large part of infrared light and a small part of visible light,” Ferrer explains. “The main subjects of this technique are trees and foliage because they react a lot under infrared light.”
Although yellow is prevalent in nature; found in bananas, autumnal leaves, egg yolks, and the irises of some animal’s eyes, in Ferrer’s photographs he standardizes all natural elements, highlighting the color’s prevalence in natural forms.
As human eyes are not used to infrared light (due to its longer wavelengths), Ferrer’s photographs invite viewers to see Dordogne as through they are in a different dimension. The extravagant Jardins Suspendus at Marqueyssac and its ivy-covered châteaux are transformed into an ethereal world that might otherwise only appear in paintings.
Although fantastical, Ferrer’s photographs encourage mindfulness and allow us to reflect upon the importance of nature. “My goals are to invite contemplation, to realize the place of nature in urban places, to make aware of the impact of our environment on us, and our impact on the environment.”
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Twenty years ago, the fortress city of Carcassonne in southern France was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In celebration of the important anniversary, Swiss artist Felice Varini (previously) was commissioned by France’s Centre des Monuments Nationaux to install a massive illusion of concentric yellow circles on the city’s border. The installation, titled “Concentric Concentric,” was installed this spring and will remain up through September, 2018.
Although at first glance the striking yellow marks appear to be painted directly on the surface of the ancient stones—a somewhat alarming gesture for a declared historic site—the circles are actually very thin pieces of colored aluminum, which were carefully adhered to the city’s walls and turrets by local art students. Varini’s bold installation has garnered quite a bit of attention, not all of it positive. In a video interview, included below, the artist explains how he conceived of this particular work. You can see more of his colorful illusions on Facebook. (via Arrested Motion)
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French artist Thomas Voillaume, a.k.a. APACH, likes to mix his background in sculpture and video to 3D map digital works onto larger-than-life public sculptures in urban environments. For his 2016 sculpture The Kraken however, the artist decided to construct the work with a more minimal approach. The piece is an open wooden structure built into the ruins of Val d’Escrein, a remote valley in Hautes-Alpes, France. Its body is situated at the center of the stone building, while its six pointed legs reach over the crumbling walls.
Voillaume’s work is one of three monumental installations scattered throughout the region, including eleven illuminated dandelion sculptures formed from clusters of milk bottles by Alice and David Bertizzolo and a giant wooden hand by Pedro Marzorati. You can take a look at more of Voillaume’s work on his website and Instagram, and view a behind-the-scenes video of The Kraken’s construction (with horses!) in the video below. (via Colossal Submissions)
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A Project Aims to Create the World’s Largest Hanging Garden Since Babylon Within the Branches of a 114-Foot Tree
The French masterminds of mechanical delight, Les Machines de L’ile, have an ambitious new project underway. L’Arbre aux Hérons (The Heron’s Tree) is set to be the largest hanging garden built since ancient Babylon, spanning over 160 feet in diameter and reaching 114 feet into the sky. Their Nantes-based team describes the historic muses behind the project:
Inspired by the worlds of Jules Verne and Leonardo Da Vinci, it is an unprecedented artistic project. After the Grand Elephant and the Machine Gallery in 2007, the Carousel of the Sea Worlds in 2012, the Herons’ Tree is the third phase of the Island’s Machines. Coming out of the minds of François Delaroziere and Pierre Orefice, it will be located along the banks of the Loire River, a few meters away from the house Jules Verne spent his teenage years in and where Jean-Jacques Audubon grew up and drew his first herons.
Les Machines de L’ile have been working on The Heron’s Tree since their inception in 2007, and in the spirit of democratic discovery, their team of skilled craftspeople have been sharing the prototypes with visitors to the Machine Gallery. The sketches and mock-ups for the project include a giant steel tree topped with two herons that each carry twenty passengers on circular flights. Half of the tree’s twenty-two branches can be traversed on foot by visitors, and all of the branches will support hanging terraces of plants and gardens to create a lush ecosystem. The tree itself will be set in an old granite quarry on the cliffs of Brittany.
The goal is to open The Heron’s Tree in 2022, and two thirds of the 35 million euro project cost is being covered by public funding. Les Machines de L’ile is seeking to fund the rest through crowdfunding: you can contribute via Kickstarter. You can also track the project’s progress on Facebook.
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Eighteen towers filled with more than 1,600 apartments were built by architect Emile Aillaud between 1973 and 1981. The housing complex is found in the Pablo Picasso district of Nanterre, an inner suburb of Paris. The residential towers range from 7 to 38 floors, yet each share peculiar windows shaped like futuristic portholes. French photographer Laurent Kronental has long been fascinated by these windows and their towering hosts which serve as the subject of his 2015-2017 series Les Yeux de Tours.
Kronental shoots through these windows to capture the landscape that lies far below their sky-high positions. Many of the images in the series simply focus on the exterior view, while others include a glimpse into the lives of residents. Curtains and bed linens hint at the owners’ aesthetic preferences, while a few photographs capture more telling objects such as pianos and dishware.
“The mundane and the magic intermesh and merge through the porthole that acts as a two-way eye, the window of a flying living room, of a spaceship galley,” explains a statement about Kronental’s series. The futuristic details built into the architecture are now elements of the past, yet their inhabitants still share the dream of a bright future. The more homely elements of their lives severely contrast the flashy design elements of the buildings’ exteriors, aging wallpaper set against the sleek skyscrapers that exist right outside.
Kronental’s work from his earlier series Souvenir d’un Futur will be exhibited in the group exhibition French Landscapes, a Photographic Experience (1984-2017) at the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand in Paris through February 4, 2018. The exhibition includes more than 1,000 photographs from 160 artists in order to provide a diverse depiction of the French landscape as seen over the last 40 years. You can see more of Kronental’s work on his website and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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French duo Ella & Pitr (previously) tackle the gravity of the global refugee crisis in their latest mural, Le Naufrage de Bienvenu/The Shipwreck of Bienvenu. The massive outdoor work reaches over 47 meters (154 feet), scaling the surface of Piney’s Dam in La Valla-En Gier, Rhone-Alpes, France.
Ella & Pitr frequently highlight neglected societal groups such as the elderly and homeless by placing them on highly visible urban canvases like snowy hillsides or old airport tarmacs. Their choice of a dam―a huge aquatic blockade―could be interpreted in reference to the swelling crisis of displaced people crossing the Mediterranean from Africa.
The artists and their team spent ten days suspended from the dam to complete the painting. You can follow more of Ella & Pitr’s work on Instagram.
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