Throughout centuries the mankind has been playing games with nature. Conquering the space, which has no limits. Fighting the time, which has been the only phenomenon in history to never lose. Catching the light, which pierces everything on Earth and therefore is absolutely elusive.
Still, there is something the mankind has succeeded in. The invention of photography resolved several most ambitious challenges, that have long been occupying human minds: from now onward people stop time by snapping away the camera in the right moment, they catch the light which has pierced to the film in particular proportion and has split up within the imprint, they turn big into small, by placing on a compact photograph truly colossal buildings, breathtaking landscapes and events of historical importance.
People are contradictory. They look about, but hardly ever watch their step. They chase illusive happiness, leaving their homes just to come back, like in that old Russian fairytale, and to discover that happiness has been there all the time, waiting for them in the yard. People start to appreciate anything only when it is gone. They think about work, while being with their family at home — and miss home while working. People are highly contrast.
There is another country in the world, which is rich in contrast. France. And there is one region in France, which authors of the exhibition «France. Provence / Aganta Lou Lume» have travelled throughout the length and breadth in an effort to perform one of the most daring dream of the mankind — to capture the light. And not only to capture it, but also to preserve it, to picture it in a way that someone, observing from outside, would feel as if he was there, inside. Behind the old, ramshackle building. In the middle of a field, as contrast as a day-night shift. A field, on one half of which grows globally famous purple lavender, and on the other — a sunflower, orienting its floral envelops towards the rays of the sun so artfully, because it also chases the light. On the hills, patterned in the golden flecks of spikelets.
The pursuit of the light lasted several years, took place day and night, early morning and late evening, when stars, scattered in the sky, were contemplating fields of Provence without even blinking. That’s what our photographers tried to depict — a unity of the light and the darkness, the order and the chaos, straight and bent lines — when creating imprints for the exhibition «France. Provence / Aganta Lou Lume».
In the end of his first novel «Mary» Vladimir Nabokov wrote: « He chose a train leaving for southwestern Germany in half an hour, spent a quarter of his whole fortune on the ticket and thought with pleasurable excitement how he would cross the frontier without a single visa; and beyond it was France, Provence, and then — the sea ». Our authors have performed the same amount of work — crossed the frontier (however, they had to use a visa for that), woke up in the morning, reached the fields, got to know ramshackle buildings, were charmed by the strictness of straight lines, going up to the horizon, and now are ready to present the result of their work so that you could get to know Provence, too.
The mankind is incapable of taming nature — and will never be. Yet there is another way — the way of contemplation. Today we suggest you admire the beauty of Provence — one of the most picturesque regions of France — together with us.
Welcome to the exhibition / Text by Aleksandr Rodionov