May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Thames and Hudson describe the work of Sophie Ristelhueber thus:
‘In Sophie Ristelhueber’s artworks and installations, the photographed landscape appears in fragments: damaged, rent, pockmarked. These traces of history and conflict, which the artist calls ‘details of the world’, are like scars on a body, and they convey a similar tale of wounds scarcely healed.
Ristelhueber has been photographing these metaphorical scars in war-torn places like Beirut, Kuwait, Bosnia and Iraq since 1982, recording the violence inflicted on the surface of the earth by the machinery of war. Rather than focusing on the geopolitical meaning of a particular conflict, she is engaged with the ambiguities of what she calls the ‘terrain of the real and of collective emotions’.
Ristelhueber’s approach implies that the current world situation is part of an unceasing historical cycle of destruction and construction – in her photographs, the surface of the land becomes a kind of palimpsest on which the disfiguring marks of decades of conflict continue to be recorded.’
I was privileged to meet Sophie Ristelhueber last year when I attended a small workshop at the Wellcome Trust where she gave a presentations and explanation of her art practice. Sophie started by showing an early series (called ‘Every One’) of photographs of scars on human bodies that she took at a hospital in Paris. She explained that she would go to the hospital everyday and take photographs of post surgical scars. When she exhibited them she did so very large so that they were transformed into landscapes.
Later she started to areas of war and conflict and photograph scars of war left on the landscape. Sophie made an incredible series of photographs of trenches left after the war in Kuwait.
Here is a link to a really good interview with Sophie Ristelhueber.