Photographs by Patrick Mascaux.
ArpEditions.org, 2012. 104 pp., 45 offset quadtone illustrations, 7¾x10¼".
Wilmes & Mascaux’s images have a curious ability to visually depict paradoxes – rendering silence deafening and making noise inaudible. Exploring territory in the way they do is tantamount to implicitly questioning concepts of time and space, using a range of techniques including photography, video and sound. Their images – whether still or moving – lend articulation to space, much like the sound and silence that accompany them. Taking as their starting point images that depict the tangible reality of man-made wastelands, the artists probe the transience (or the pretension) of a civilization whose abuse of the natural world doesn’t speak in its favor.
As though, in these territories at the far edges of cities and along borders, where decay appears to go unnoticed, everything is allowed, everything is possible – including a precipitous return to a state of ruin. And yet, their images are neither despairing nor depressing. This is because, drawing on the visual and audio material gathered during their trips to Australia, New Mexico, Texas and elsewhere, they have created a universe that is entirely their own. It is a world based on an artistic approach where collective perception is fed by individual practice – separate but complementary – all of which comes together in a body of work developed jointly over the past fifteen years. These elements are reworked and assembled into installations that vary in both size and techniques employed – an indication of the complexity and multi-faceted nature of their project. The evocative power of the images is a frequent element as well as, in their most recent work, attempts to embrace a contemplative approach to nature, before it is altered by human activity. A return to original sources.
This first book strikes out in a new direction, exploring the linear sequence offered by the book format. Texts and images retain their separate functions of reading and viewing, while remaining part of the pair’s overall distant PARADISE project.