Imagine yourself standing in front of a grey oversized, brutalistic object made out of concrete, which is somehow strangely poetic, in a period of time that you can’t figure out, in a place you haven’t experienced or can’t recognize from your memories. The one thing you keep thinking about is if an apocalypse just took place. That’s how you feel when looking at Noémie Goudal’s art. She uses a very personal layer on layer method, which gives the observer a feeling of being the co-creator of her very own universe – a universe that Goudal is now generously sharing through the exhibition “Stations” at Fotografiska (The Museum of Photography) in Stockholm. Speaking about the exhibition, Goudal sheds more light on her unique world of photography:
“Curiosity has always been a strong driving force for me, and my creations require me to push myself to achieve something for every separate layer. I love discovering and understanding new things before even considering the actual construction and implementation, which my team works on. Preparing a photography session is like planning an adventure or a small film shoot, and all the organisational requirements this entails gives my life balance.”
Goudal’s starting point is her own extensive research through which she’s searching for environments that catches her interest and that moves her in one way or another. Her way of working is both time-consuming and minutely detailed, and her endless journeys and expeditions all around the globe have come to have a strong impact on her art. Goudal finds sections from nature and cityscapes, frozen moments and extremely thought-out cutouts that she photographs and puts together with large placed-in photo prints. The photographs are constructed as theatrical sets. Appearing almost as optic illusions, Goudal’s scenes and landscapes are brought to life by her unique, eye-catching compositions. The build up of the pictures acts as a connection between earth and sky and between the observer and what lies behind the image, beyond our knowledge. In this way Goudal manages to capture more than just a moment in time, more than specific a place, overturning the the fundamental laws of nature and architecture.
The second you lay eyes on Goudal’s art, you float into a kind of infinity where you find yourself closer and closer to her art, both physically and spiritually. Standing there, with the tip of your nose almost touching the large photographs, you perceive their structure but still can’t quite make out the construction of the images. This is one the things that makes Goudal unique – her ability to both expose and reveal at the same time. In that moment, when you feel that everything is completely inexplicable, you can’t help but wonder if you are actually there, on that street, on that beach, or in that jungle – or if you are just dreaming after all. Maybe this is exactly what Goudal wants the viewers to experience – the sense of not knowing and the need to use one’s eyes and imagination. Drawing inspiration from both Renaissance and Baroque art, Goudal is no stranger to using visual tricks and multiple perspectives, inviting the observer to contemplate her art.
Her artworks are not only pictures with strikingly centered compositions, they are also two-dimensional sculptures that dare to take up the kind of space they need to tell their own, unique stories. They engage all of our senses – and using the full depth of your imagination, you can almost feel the cold air sweeping against your skin, hear the ocean curling up against the shore, and smell the fragrance of the massive object that you are curiously staring at. It’s hard not to feel anything surrounded by Goudal’s imposing and deeply moving art, which will continue to challenge our sense of space, reality and time for years to come. As Goudal herself puts it “a picture is a space you can live in.” Head over to Fotografiska to experience it yourself.
Exhibition “Stations” until November 18, 2018; Fotografiska, Stockholm. For more information, visit www.fotografiska.com
Artist & Photographer: Noémie Goudal
Words by Melinda Urbansdotter
#1 Station V
#2 Observatoire VIII (Pulpit 2)
#3 Observatoire VI (Stalingrad)
#4 Station VIII
#5 Station VII