Georges Rousse

Georges Rousse

Work from his oeuvre.

Below is an excerpt from Rousse’s correspondences with Canadian Art Historian, Jocelyne Lupien.

Paris, January 9, 2000

Good evening Jocelyne,
Your letter has got me thinking about the camera, it makes me wonder about the meaning and evolution of my works over the years. I do not have your scientific or global view of things because the work developed over time and from a variety of sources. But I can say that what came to me first was this apprehension of space and painting. During these early years, the camera was just the instrument that defined the space of the image. The first discovery concerned the way the camera carves out a photographic field in the space. Contemporary art enabled me to act on the photographic field. For example, for me Land Art was a kind of model. Trained as I was in the mathematical reasoning that establishes a relation between definitions, rules and theorems, I logically thought that all the developments of art history were like these rules and theorems, and that I could use them not as a homage to “such and such” but as an established principle which in turn allowed me to construct other hypotheses and other experiences. I therefore introduced “action into the photographic field” and the possibility of controlling images (my own) by controlling, as a director does, every parameter of the image. Later a change did effectively occur when I realised that photography is a technique for “reproducing”, that is to say, for producing what has already been produced or existed.
My photographic images are constituted in two phases: they are produced in real space then reproduced by capturing the real. For me, the photographic image is forged within the real, onsite, in action, in direct work on the site. This notion of work is important to me. It enables me to control every phase of production. For me it is also a way to exorcise any nostalgia or despair, to eliminate the present-as-ruin and re-develop it in a different way. There are always ways of terminating or changing a situation, even the most negative ones. Alongside photography as a medium of reproduction I introduced the technique of “anamorphosis”, which the dictionary defines as a transformation that uses optical or geometrical means to make an object unrecognisable, but which allows you to restore the original figure by using a curved mirror or by examining outside the plane in which the transformation occurred. But I would like to add that this definition of anamorphosis does not fit my practice exactly because I have never sought to make the object unrecognisable, but have sought to dematerialise that object in order to make it photographic. The object is there in the photographic but it cannot be grasped. That is why I have used anamorphosis without naming it as such. I also use the wide-angle lens as a tool of dematerialisation. As a result of the powerful deformation that it introduces into the real my space becomes an oversized real, smaller than the universe (to introduce a poetic dimension). In effect, I “reorder the visible world into a new and unforeseen space”, but then isn’t showing the world in a new way what artists set out to do?

I look forward to your answer,
Georges Rousse

Comments are closed.