There”s a process when it comes to looking at and appreciating Bertrand Flachot”s work and its many layers. First, there”s the photograph. The Paris-based artist uses large photos of mountains, forests, cities, and waterscapes as the foundation for his pieces. But they don”t stop there.
Working off the natural forms and lines of the photos, Flachot embellishes them with ink, creating a sketchy, threadlike version of the landscape that spills past its photographic bounds. Sometimes this includes objects that aren”t in the photo. Eventually, the boundaries of the real and the imagined, or the documented and the created, become blurred.
The lines Flachot adds also serve to reduce the photographic images to their most basic components.
In this piece, the forest vegetation can either evolve from a few simple lines, or, if you read it the other way, it appears to fade into nothing, leaving only the most basic lines behind.
The result is a place that seems to be in a constant state of reimagining or reinterpreting. The photo shows the “real” place, but the lines suggest the movement, the people, and the mood that make the memory of the place come alive.
In cityscapes and urban settings, Flachot”s lines mimic the geometry of buildings and streets. This image suggests movement, and the lines added to the photo create a new physical presence in an otherwise open space.
Using different colors for the lines also creates the illusion of depth.
Dealing with memory and trying to recreate the past is something that hits close to home for Flachot. In 1990, his studio, and all of the artwork in it, was destroyed by a fire, leaving behind only the memories. That”s a devastating loss to any artist, but Flachot gamely pressed on, using the experience as an inspiration for a new body of work. The lines he adds to these photos are an exploration of memory and how memories affect not only the past, but shapes the present, as well.
Flachot working in his studio.
(via My Modern Met)
Some people think of drawing and photography as being rivals in the art world, but Flachot”s work shows how they can beautifully exist together.
You can see more of Flachot”s work on his website and Facebook page.
For more art that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined, take a peek at what these artists are up to: