november 2009

Nicolas Floc’h

My work puts practises drawn from the art world in dialogue with other subject areas or fields of activity. I often set up processes and each project takes on a different form. These processes are tied to formal, symbolical, economical and political concerns. The use value of things is also central to my proposals in the sense that it spurs their development. The works are not stable or fixed, but exist in interaction with the world and are reinvented by the uses to which they are put.

The sea and everything surrounding it have long been at the centre of my work. I spent my childhood on water, and indeed often in it, diving. I also spent 18 months working as a sea fisherman on a trawler, at La Turballe. As an artist, I have regularly undertaken projects connected to the sea. For me, being given a chance to stay at the Sémaphore du Créac’h was an opportunity to spend some time in France’s westernmost lookout, face to face with the ocean and tempests. I conceived of my stay here as a period of time when I would attend to the purpose of this place: in other words, I focused on reflection and observation, rather than productivity.

In Winter, at the Créac’h, there is the wind, the raging sea, the spray lashing across the window panes of the watchroom, the foghorn a few dozen metres away and the lighthouse illuminating the landscape at night. I wanted to hold on to a few images prompted by the beam sweeping through the landscape and the space inside the Sémaphore and capture some of the visions this particular atmosphere gave rise to through pictures that seem almost unreal and hark back to the landscape and the ubiquitous glare of the lighthouse. I therefore used a view camera to take slow-exposure (up to 30 minutes exposure time) shots of the nocturnal landscape lit up by the lighthouse.

During the day, I created pictures of the coast and of the concrete and stone structure of the old “foghorn” at the foot of the lighthouse.

Although this period of reflection did yield a few pictures, it mostly allowed me to start my ongoing researches on the coast and the sea. In fact, the projects I am currently developing will shortly take me back to Ouessant.