The Geometrical Determination of the Sunrise (extracts)
Prix HSBC Pour la Photographie, Published by Acte Sud
The premises of her work thus laid down, the photographer became interested in places with atypical landscape elements, such as islands and caves. In history as in legends, these places are imbued with a certain dramaturgy, or at least are propitious to reconstructions or particular mises en scenes. These secluded and isolated landscapes have always attracted human beings, either because of an interest in the discovery of unknown and mysterious lands, or because of the feelings of shelter and protection that they provoke. Noémie Goudal says nothing other when, invoking these places that also interest her, she describes them as “heterotopias, created between a geographic reality and a part of human imagination.” The counterpart of these natural spaces, relatively difficult to access, consists of disused and deserted industrial places, where we find this atmosphere of sites nearing the end of their lives. She is not content with photographing them as though it were necessary to protect their memory, but re-appropriates them like ‘décor’. Inside them, she installs her photographs of similar places, enlarged to the size of the site she is filling, to interfere with the latter and to create a new imaginary world.
Hence, there is once again the question of the superposing of shots and the fragmentations of spaces to create new perceptions, by playing with the perspectives of the host site (caves, disused factories, ships lying high and dry, deserted barns) and the traces left by its history. Sites initially without a perspective find themselves extended and transformed into another natural or industrial ‘décor’, thanks to this superposing of images. There is nevertheless no confusion possible between the envelope and its contents, because the ‘imported’ images are themselves composed of fragments (here we are again) of the same image decomposed and printed on paper sheets suspended in the new space, squatting it in a way.
These spaces that have come out of nowhere are not accessible to the public, the perspective and harmony of the mise en scène can only be glimpsed from a unique and intangible point of view, the one that the photographer reserves for herself. The places taken over by Noémie Goudal transform into a medium for her visual installations, which, paradoxically, reveal the existence of the former by overshadowing them. She is not content with merely upsetting the perspectives of her images, she also disturbs the spaces that she takes over, whose perception she modifies so as to develop a new territory.