Les architectures fractales de Laetitia Soulier

By Julien Verhaeghe, June 4, 2014

The red and winding spaces of Laetitia Soulier’s “Matryoshka Dolls” series allude to the intricate worlds of David Lynch, as well as Piranèse’s deceptive architecture. We find on the one hand, an atmosphere of oneiric complexity, flushed with color and steeped in mystery; and on the other, mathematical structures, rooms replete with nooks and crannies. The hypnotic geometric motifs play rhythms on the wall and yet time appears to be suspended.

The fractal nature of these photographs is based not so much on formal manipulations as it is on the logic of the work as a whole. Fractals juxtapose two distinct realities through the use of a singular and indivisible entity, in this case the circle or the square into an endlessly divisible mathematical space. We recognize a fractal only by virtue of its tendency to express two contradictory forces, which nevertheless feed off each other to produce a single system. Thus, an initial movement creates a macroscopic layer, an entire space that appears to break down indefinitely, allowing us over time to glimpse a global coherence, a structural momentum. This movement is mirrored at the microscopic level by the uninterrupted advancement of a corresponding element. Far from a dualistic dialectic, this fractal logic combines two distinct realities to clear the way for a third path, permitting a greater whole to come together with a momentum that takes a cyclical or spiral form.

This is what we see, in the photographs from “Square Roots.” We are thrown into the heart of a fully formed reality, into “the big picture”; a boy sits on the stairs, while small hands play behind him, and he contemplates the steps of the grown man above him. But the structure of the photograph draws us into the compartments, which, like so many places and inward moments, represent the stages at which we gain understanding of ourselves and of the world.

Using fractals, to connect the whole to its parts, Soulier’s work reveals the movement of life itself. Just as a spiral combines expanding and contracting forces, the viewer simultaneously perceives an image and it’s construction. If fractal dynamics are what enable this nesting of realities, the “Fractal Architectures” series does not aim at the reproduction of a preexisting world, but of a world, which is building itself. More precisely, what fractal motion seems to produce, through these contrary movements is an image in which we cannot tell whether we are on the side of construction or deconstruction. To use an expression from Deleuze and Guattari from A Thousand Plateaus, this “zone of indiscernibility,” interrogates the fabric of all acts of creation. By dismantling and recycling the materials from one model after the photograph is made and using it for the next construction. Like Nietzsche’s eternal return, Soulier’s work questions this very moment, which consolidates the birth of the self and its relation to the world, before its dissolution and reintegration.

http://www.boumbang.com/laetitia-soulier/

*The Square Roots 2 (left), The Square Roots 3 (right), from The Fractal Architectures series*

*The Matryoshka Dolls 2 (left), The Matryoshka Dolls 3 (right), from The Fractal Architectures series*

*Details from The Square Roots 2 (left) and The Matryoshka Dolls 2 (right)*