|Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to announce the representation of Maroesjka Lavigne with Ísland, her first solo exhibition at the gallery. At the age of 21, the young Belgian photographer Lavigne spent four months driving alone across Iceland, pulled to the stark scenery. Yet rather than observing a poetic landscape of azure springs and silent snow, Lavigne's bold, cinematic images tell a tale of an out-of-the-ordinary everyday.|
Moments of unexpected familiarity jibe with unconquerable strangeness: a suburban street sleeps under rust-red night sky; an arctic fox perches unperturbed in slat-fenced Reykjavík backyard. White-capped mountain mounds bump against villages in a vision more akin to Candyland than Iceland, while half-melted snowmen form a small Stonehenge on a soccer field. Flights of fancy, however, are punctuated by Lavigne's haunting portraits of people met along the way—like characters in a silent film, they flicker between nostalgia and sudden, striking tangibility.
And everywhere, always, are shades of white. Snow becomes an amorphous studio backdrop, indeterminate but infinitely malleable. It swallows ground and sky; coats buses, boats, and intrepid sight-seers; and then transforms again into a bleached sink basin, chalky house paint, and a plume of white steam. In Ísland the world may be pale, but life is anything but colorless.
Lavigne's Ísland series was selected by Foam Magazine as a finalist in the prestigious Foam Talent Call, has won a LensCulture New & Emerging Photographers Grand Prize, and was previously shown at the 2012 Photo Academy Awards and the Unseen Photo Fair in the Netherlands. The artist's work has also been featured in The New York Times Style Magazine, Aesthetica Magazine, and the FOAM Magazine Talent issue. Lavigne lives and works in Ghent, Belgium, and graduated with a Masters in Photography from Ghent University in 2012.
Maroesjka Lavigne, Once on this Island
"When you take a picture in a beautiful place, you have to realize that nature isn't the background for your photograph," says 24-year-old Belgian photographer Maroesjka Lavigne. "Rather, you are its prop. The only thing added to the scene, after all, is you."
During a four-month excursion to Iceland that began with an internship at The Reykjavik Grapevine, Lavigne became enamored of the country's stark scenery and how its people dealt with the challenges of going about daily life in an environment reigned by vast, inescapable nature. Steering away from typical depictions of Iceland's great mountainscapes and volcanoes, her work seeks instead to deconstruct the auras of intimidation surrounding these overwhelming forms, uncovering what makes Iceland a home to those who live there. The photographs carry a sense of familiarity and nostalgia for Reykjavik and its nearby towns that is marked by an uncanny awareness of our limited time on earth, through side-by-side portrayals of human life and the more lasting, terrestrial features. For Lavigne, nature is unconquerable, and everywhere: a small figure peers contemplatively over a bridge, allowing the falling snow to envelop his image in white, while a suburban street sleeps trustingly beneath an ominous, rust-colored sky. In "Ísland," her first solo show opening at Robert Mann Gallery this Thursday, April 3, Lavigne presents the rare findings of her travels in "moments when color, light and subject merge into the perfect image."
Read the full interview here.