Noémie Goudal in Liberation Magazine

Avignon Festival: Noémie Goudal in the air of time
Contemplative and immersive, the monumental installation “Anima” gives flesh to the nature photographs of the artist, fascinated by the study of ancient climates.

"Anima" mixes photographs, electronic music and circus arts, with the presence of Chloé Moglia.

Little moments of panic at the beginning of June… On this Pentecost weekend, Noémie Goudal and her assistant, Juliette, tune their violins on a shoot that takes place in four days. 
In the visual artist's studio, in Belleville, it is necessary to agree on the construction of a row of giant photographs in which a camera will plunge like in a millefeuille. Not all prints are ready and paper is missing. Because if Noémie Goudal is preparing this new film for an exhibition at the Château d'Oiron this summer, she is also fine-tuning all the details of her presence at the Rencontres d'Arles and the Festival d'Avignon, exactly at the same time. At the beginning of July, it will have to split between the two cities:
“Everything happens at the same time. My project in Avignon has become a piece in its own right, it is no longer an Arles event that moves to the Avignon festival. It's going to be sporty."

In the courtyard of the Lambert Collection, three screens of 6 meters each will unroll landscapes, and, at the heart of this monumental installation, the musculature of the acrobat Chloé Moglia, a virtuoso in the art of suspension, will defy the laws of gravity. For the first time, Noémie Goudal inserts bodies into her images. Presented as a performance, the Anima show aims to breathe life and flesh into the photographer's sumptuous nature photographs. Contemplative and immersive, this performance, thought to be played at night, is the result of a collaboration with the director Maëlle Poésy: "I am a photographer, admits Noémie Goudal,the question of time and rhythm is unknown to me. This project – which was originally supposed to be modest – has become a gas plant because it combines photography, video, cinema, performance and music. Happy coincidence, Maëlle Poésy has just been appointed to the direction of the Dijon theater, which has facilitated the production. Anima thus promises to pulse since Chloé Thévenin (DJ Chloé for clubbers), composed the original music with heartbeats.


Nested strata

At the entrance to the artist's studio, a huge printer waits to receive instructions. All over the rooms, there are rolls of paper. On large trestle tables, large strips of photographic prints display a no man's landpink. The photographer works in successive layers: from the cut-outs of her landscape photos, Noémie Goudal mounts structures to better re-photograph or film them. Over time, his shots of forests, palm groves, jungles, rocks or deserts have become more and more complex: requiring lights, a printer in a truck, paper cutouts, structures and a small team, like in the cinema. It is in his Belleville studio, often, that these ever more ambitious productions are born. “When I propose an image, I propose the experience that goes with it, explains the artist.I like that my workshop is like a beehive, I love working with experts, from the scientist to the optical engineer passing by a specialist in special effects. Here, we have our work meetings, we design and manufacture the sets. Then, everything is created on the shots or on the set.” The photographer, daughter of a heritage architect and a theater director in Brétigny-sur-Orge, captures a reproduction of Saint Jerome in her studyof Antonello from Messina to explain his approach. During her studies in London (she studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Arts), this painting from the National Gallery had a profound effect on her, with its composition in successive planes, which Erwin Panofsky had compared to a window opened. Since then, this idea of ​​interlocking strata has never left her. Noémie Goudal seeks to “see how we can talk about time in an image”.

The Anima performance draws on Post Atlantica, its body of images and films guided by paleoclimatology (the study of ancient climates). The photographer is fascinated by this science, by the fossil flora and fauna, the charred forests under the ice caps or the astonishing geological links between Brittany and Texas… So many clues that she would like to transcribe conceptually in her images… “ I want to look at the landscape from many different angles. Looking at it from the prism of its extremely long history is magical. Seeing the world as a moving entity, as scientists do, has opened doors for me.”This is why in her show, the visual artist collides the long time of the earth with the short time of man, embodied on stage by the circus artist Chloé Moglia: "What can better embody the intensity of present than a person suspended in the void?”

Movie jigsaw

But before the jigsaw puzzle of films and sets comes together and unfolds in Avignon and Arles – the performance and the Arles exhibition echo each other –, spinning and grading sessions await the team of the photographer. “There is a big difference between contemporary art and performing arts, ” she explains In contemporary art, you varnish your exhibition and then you're not there. Whereas for live performance, you have to be present and make the right decisions.” At the paleoclimatological scale, it is possible to predict the weather. But in the age of human time and global warming, it is difficult to anticipate. Especially when the Anima decorations are expected to melt on contact with water. “We will improvise”,laughs the photographer who, for now, is especially keen not to waste any paper.

Anima by Noémie Goudal and Maëlle Poésy. At the Lambert Collection on July 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16.
7 July 2022
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