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Return to: Isabelle Hayeur

Artist Statement

My work over the past few years has focused on issues related to landscape design and architecture. I have been investigating the ways in which we invest in and occupy space, trying to gain a deeper understanding of landscape states in order to comprehend our societies' relationships to their environments. Landscape representations are attitudes of awareness; our interpretations of them and their spatial compositions bring us new visions of the world and ourselves.

The spaces in which we live show clear evidence of the rapid pace and multiplicity of changes that have occurred over the past century. Our natural, rural and urban environments have undergone dramatic upheavals, particularly in the past 30 or 40 years. The current landscape is a coming together of radically different and often contradictory spaces. For us, this ever-more fragmented territory has become familiar, and we often traverse it without awareness. Indeed, the fragmentation of the landscape closely parallels the compartmentalization of our activities and time.

The highly mediatized world in which we live surrounds us with abstract spaces and manufactured environments. Our perceptions are inhabited by aspects of a technical culture that transforms, condenses and re-directs them toward a world that is increasingly constructed and orchestrated. A new space is gradually being engineered, one that is inextricably confounding reality and fiction.

We have the privilege of constructing our world: the world we inhabit and the world that inhabits us. This is, of course, not a new phenomenon, but we have unprecedented means for achieving these ends. We give form to worlds that were once impossible and even unthinkable. We act on our surroundings and intervene in the course of events as never before. The universe in which we live has become malleable. It seems clear that our visions and lifestyles have a much greater impact on the world we occupy than in the past. It thus becomes particularly important that we assume responsibility for the landscapes we create and the worlds we imagine. These are the reflections that have informed my work over the past several years.

I manipulate my shots using image editing and compositing. Like filmmaker Robert Bresson, who said that "bare reality will not in itself provide the truth," I grasp the world by recomposing it into images that encompass it in all its complexity. Placing sites, events and temporalities from different sources into relation with each other creates connections (geographic and semantic.) It also lets me condense territories, so that I can take expanses that are much too vast to be framed in the camera's eye and make them visible. It's a way of bringing off-screen material into the image. By adding extra dimensions and references to the documented realities, the constructed image can reveal aspects of the world that straightforward picture taking can't always show.

© 2010