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 Chrystel Lebas





EXIT #52 On the Edge
Quarterly Magazine on Image and Culture

November / December 2013 / January 2014

168 pp. / 115 black-and-white and colour reproductions Olivo Barbieri, Guido Baselgia, Sonja Braas, Balthasar Burkhard, Céline Clanet, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Sabine Delcour,

Miguel Fernández de Castro, Andreas Gefeller, Joris Jansen, Chrystel Lebas, Mireya Masó, Fernando Montiel Klint, Miguel Ángel Ortega, Thomas Ruff, Gerco de Ruijter, Jem Southam, Alfredo de Stefano, Zoé T. Vizcaíno, Javier Vallhonrat, Thomas Weinberger

WHAT ARE THE LIMITS OF PHOTOGRAPHY? It is the eye that defines the limits, that increasingly deepens and expands the possibility of forging ahead, of conquering, because reaching the limit, crossing that frontier that few reach, is nothing if it cannot be shown, if it cannot be photographed. So the gaze needs the complement of photography.

The overwhelming earth, the scorching ice, the unfathomable water, the dangers of invisible boundaries, but also, and increasingly, the limits of the unknown: if this world is already known, we need to create eyes that see further, cameras that can take our gaze where our bodies cannot go. There are telescopes that help us see the furthest reaches of the universe, far beyond the moon and Mars. The world may have become small, travel, emigration and exploration of new resources may take thousands of people anywhere, but the solitary individual is still the one who reaches the most inaccessible crevices. The journey need not be physical, however. When the imagination transports us, those limits are also photographed, because the only limits of a photographer are the limits of the gaze, with or without help, but limits only exist there where the gaze of an artist does not reach.

This issue of EXIT examines these limits, the most remote places one can reach, and their relation to photography. It is a way of exploring how far photography and photographers can go today.

, Luisa Zanzani

The Limits of the Gaze. Rosa Olivares
The Worst Journey in the World. Robert Scott / Apsley Cherry-Garrad
Céline Clanet, Chrystel Lebas, Jem Southam, Zoé T. Vizcaíno, Luisa Zanzani.
Olivo Barbieri, Guido Baselgia, Sonja Braas, Balthasar Burkhard, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Sabine Delcour, Miguel Fernández de Castro, Andreas Gefeller, Joris Jansen, Mireya Masó, Fernando Montiel Klint, Miguel Ángel Ortega, Thomas Ruff, Gerco de Ruijter, Alfredo de Stefano, Javier Vallhonrat, Thomas Weinberger.

Camera Austria International - 110/2010
Article and magazine cover photographs by Chrystel Lebas
Essay by Sandra Krizic Roban: Chrystel Lebas: THE TRANSLATOR OF NATURE
Bilingual English/ German

'In the opinion of Simon Schama, there are two kinds of Arcadia:
one is smooth, slow-paced, and entirely quietened down, while the
other is overgrown with weeds, condensed, and pathless. The former
is a place of idyllic vacation, while in the latter we feel some
kind of uncertainty, uneasiness, maybe even panic. In places Chrystel
Lebas has visited it is possible to feel, or at least to sense, both
of these. In her earlier series, the feeling of time was expressed in a
different way than today; she insisted on immobility, on a lasting
quality that would mark the particular place she would pick, with
the artist sometimes hiding on hunting platforms for hours, lurking
for special moments in almost the same way a hunter lies in wait for
his prey (»The Wait«, 2007)'(...) Essay extract

select magazine cover for full article pdf

Exit Magazine - 38
Paisajes silenciosos - Silent Landscapes
Bilingual Spanish/ English

Silent landscapes. Enigmatic places. A sublime beauty which brings us close to the abyss. EXIT presents the natural world in its purest state and the idea of landscape as a cultural construction. Photography, the tool of the modern wanderer, is used on this occasion to approach those places which are not common in contemporary society. With the help of artists and writers, of images and literature, we are shown an essentially good nature, where beauty is closer to the abyss than to tranquillity.
The walk between Nature and Thought, between man and society, which leads us into the forest, across the tundra, over the rivers and seas, begins with Rosa Olivares' editorial 'Paradise Was Here Nearby'. The introductory text by the German sociologist Georg Simmel, 'Philosophy of the Landscape' [ 1918 ] provides an immersion into the ideas and concepts which create the idea of landscape as a cultural element.
Liz Wells, Professor in Photographic Culture at the University of Plymouth, explores in her essay 'Enigmatic Landscapes' the idea of landscape not just as an aesthetic concept, but as one with social and psychological implications. She reflects on a variety of issues surrounding landscape photography: how it can act as a silencer of nature; the idea of the artist as explorer; the difference between wildness and wilderness; and the elements it involves such as geography, autobiography, metaphor.
Texts:Liz Wells, Georg Simmel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immanuel Kant, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Arthur Schopenhauer, Joseph Conrad, Fray Luis de León, Petrarch. Portfolios: Thomas Joshua Cooper, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Amparo Garrido. Artists: Ansel Adams, Darren Almond, Elina Brotherus, Balthasar Burkhard, Joan Fontcuberta, Ori Gersht, Frank Gohlke, Beate Gütschow, Jitka Hanzlova, Bill Henson, Todd Hido, Josef Hoflehner, Chip Hooper, Nicholas Hughes, Axel Hütte, Tiina Itkonen, Adam Jeppesen, Michael Kenna, Chrystel Lebas, Bart Michiels, Richard Misrach, Bernard Plossu, Eliot Porter, Jorma Puranen, Michael Reisch, Caio Reisewitz, Michael Schnabel, Takeshi Shikama, Jem Southam, Joel Sternfeld, Thomas Struth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Arvid Sveen, Yoshihiko Ueda.

Country of origin: Spain
English / Spanish text
4 issues per year
26 x 21 cm
184 Pages


Portfolio Catalogue - Contemporary Photography in Britain - 48
photographs by Chrystel Lebas
Essay by Deborah Schultz: Chrystel lebas: The Wait- Culture and nature: The immensity and imagination of the forest

(...)For all its darkness and mystery, the Royal Forest of Rockingham
is a medieval huntingforest in which paths were set out to aid the hunter.
This is anorderly wilderness, where man’s hunting activity is not for
survival, but amusement, in a space that facilitates his
manmade adventure. As Simon Schama writes, “it is this
irreversibly modified world, from the polar caps to the
equatorial forests, that is all the nature we have”.5 Is, then, the
modern wild wilderness an illusion, like the photographic
image? A cultural construct designed to fulfil man’s need for
something other than the industrialised world? If it is, modern
man may seek escape in the artifice of photographic images of
majestic scale and depth.'Lebas’s photographs are located in the tensions
between culture and nature, beauty and darkness, the manmade
landscape and the wild sublime. Whereas in previous series her
forests were generalised, the titles of photographs in The Wait
refer to particular locations. A sense of memory now underlies
images which are grounded in the history of specific places,
events and narratives.
While the drama of the natural world is played out for
man’s pleasure, the darkness of death remains imminent. The
unseen, unspoken narrative is one of swift sound, blood and
another kind of loss. None of this is visible in Lebas’s
photographs, where the timeless stillness of the forest space
transcends the limited temporality of man and his pastimes. The
forest plays the role of satisfying “one of our most powerful
yearnings: the craving to find in nature a consolation for our
own mortality”.'(...)
Essay extract

select magazine cover for full article pdf


Portfolio Catalogue - Contemporary Photography in Britain - 50
photographs and text by Chrystel Lebas
To celebrate the 50th issue of Portfolio marking 21 years of the publication, 50 of the UK's most significant artists photographers contributed two pages of their newest works for this special extended issue.

Chrystel Lebas: Hidden Nature
'Walking alone in the forest recording close up scenes or tableaux,
I attempted to reveal the hidden side of nature, the nature we have glorified, forgetting its real
harshness and purpose, questioning man’s relationship with the natural environment and
man’s response to a lost wilderness.' Chrystel lebas