With Justine Blau, photography emerges from photography. The same applies to landscapes, which are sculpted from photographic images.
In her search for components for her work, the artist scours the Internet. While this virtual medium may not have all the answers, it provides countless fragments to piece together man and his view of the world. These hints and clues collected by Justine Blau are assembled to form seemingly picturesque three-dimensional collages before finding their final expression in the language of photography. The resulting images are pure fiction, albeit created from elements that represent real fragments.
Interpreted this way, the landscape implies human intervention rather than natural creation. Its appearance causes confusion: having turned image, the landscape primarily recalls an idea rather than an actually existing form reproduced in two dimensions.
A landscape is synonymous with a physical space defined by an aesthetic finality. This perspective often arises in the context of a journey, a concept that represents evasion, displacement and immersion, in particular a feeling of mobility and momentum. In day-to-day life we struggle to open our eyes to the landscape, which is mentally preconceived: there is nothing ordinary about it, it leans towards the exotic and exists only in the context of adventure and discovery (of the authentic?), to set a challenge to the observer. Man's contemplation and perception of the landscape assert his superiority over nature. Is this perhaps even a manifesto of freedom?
This slightly outlandish chain of thought has its origins in the tradition of the Grand Tour (1), as well as in the phenomenon of the scientific exploration journeys that succeeded the golden age of discovery. The cultural heritage of a certain Alexander von Humboldt (2) is therefore not entirely innocent when it comes to the development of this consciousness that is out of touch with reality, even if its beginnings were characterised by a precise and detailed study of nature in a bid to meet the exacting requirements of the natural sciences. The passion and enthusiasm of these pioneers were by all accounts crucial and still bring their influence to bear on contemporary paradigms. To nourish both his hungry and his romantic spirit, man preserves an image of the landscape that is condensed, exaggerated and compact: an image visually translated in the pictorial photography of Justine Blau.
(1) Long study voyage made by members of the upper classes of British and German society during the 17th and 18th centuries.
(2) German scientist: geographer and explorer (*1769 - 1859)
Justine Blau is a visual artist based in Luxembourg. Her approach is multidisciplinary, creating sculptures, installations and photos inspired by ideas related to the photographic medium, nature, the idea of originality, and identity.