DAVID FALCO | POITIERS, FRANCE
Born in France in 1978, David Falco graduated from the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier. As a librarian at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, he discovered the collection’s gems, particularly reproductions of Japanese photographers. In 2002, an encounter with a fashion photographer led to him working at a studio in Paris as a photo assistant, an assistant photographer, and then as a digital operator and technical advisor.
For more than ten years, he has been thinking about our relationship with the world and especially our understanding of space, nature, and landscape. The photo series « Spitzberg 78° 15’ N 16 ° E »(2008, Kodak Critics’ Award) and « Sad Landscape » depict areas that we still freely associate with untouched nature spared or protected from human activity. Exploring these areas on foot allowed him to photograph marginal spaces, different from those we live in and observe each day, where the human time we know is set against immeasurable geological time.
These days he is interested in « humanized landscapes » whose arrangement persists in time and space. Representative of industrial modernity, these sprawling arrangements reveal their uses just as much as they characterize our modes of being in the world. His photo research has lead him to create the serie « Meanwhile, after Caspar David Friedrich, 1774-2015 ».
Since 2010, he has taught photography at the École d’Arts Plastiques and University of Poitiers (France).
What is your work about?
« Meanwhile, after Caspar David Friedrich, 1774-2015 »
In 2008, using high-definition analog photo reproductions, I began to reprise a selection of works by the painter of the « tragedy of landscape » and master of German Romanticism, Caspar David Friedrich.
I am fascinated not only by the painted image’s ability to inspire reverie but also by its archival dimension and its function as a tool for thinking about our past, present, and future perceptions of and concerns about landscape.
We can measure space in paces or centimeters, but how do we represent the distance between two ideas about a contemporary present that are separated from each other by more than a century?
In order to collate our representations and perceptions of and preoccupations with landscape, I hoped to give this distance material form and to translate it into images by adding and putting together meaningful contemporary elements while still respecting the painter’s pictorial treatment. Each of these montages was subject to multiple attempts, some of them in vain, first to photograph the elements embedded from the painter’s point of view (with a similar height, perspective, and ambient light), then to faithfully reproduce the brushstrokes and the cracks or other signs of age.
Through the painter’s works, I document and question directly or incidentally the ambiguous and sometimes contradictory relationships we maintain with nature and landscape and the elements that make them up.
This series has been made possible by the financial support of The Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
I love both digital and analog photography, each for easthetic, technical and conceptual reasons. Shooting on film allow me to develop and keep a more intense relationship to the subject, as I don’t have to manage screen, hard-drive, battery and computer.