Musée Magazine

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February 2016

At first look, viewers may feel they have fallen into a Lewis Carrol novel; Laetitia Soulier’s works of art offer up a world where fantasy and reality intertwine not only to defy common logic, but also to expose the constant fluctuation in human perceptions. Upon closer examination, we see we have been invited into the artist’s fastidious architectural world, a wondrous place of never-ending fractal patterns. Incorporating her signature large format photographs, handmade wall paper, sculptural dioramas, live topiaries and mechanical vignettes, Soulier’s first solo exhibition gives the viewer more than a little peak into the artist’s studio practice.

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Laetitia Soulier, The Square Roots 1, C-Print, 30 x 60 inches | 76 x 152 cm

Conceiving her hyper-realistic sculptures for the unique point of view of the camera, Soulier’s “sets” are built for the monocular perspective of the lens. For every photograph she takes, a new “stage” is created. Each small book, basket or hat box is constructed by the artist; 3D modeling is never used in creating any part of her work. From concept to construction to the final printing of the photograph, the process can take from three month to a years’ time, depending on the complexity of the particular piece. The architecture of Soulier’s spaces is at once vast and confined; each room not only offers a glimpse of its recurrence elsewhere, but is also endlessly divisible into its component parts. The viewer senses that the only limits to the system are those imposed by his or her own field of vision.

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Photo by Sang Ha Park, at Claire Oliver Gallery

The artist’s inspiration begins with the geometry of a wallpaper design and the structure of the “set” sculpture then follows that fractal logic; Soulier weaves together microcosm and macrocosm. She builds her sets after measuring the child model so that he or she fits perfectly in the architecture. Creating nested spaces in which the viewer can glimpse a foot, an eye or a face, Soulier uses children to reinforce and reveal the multiple scales incorporated within the work. Stories unfold within these fractal architectures, which are at once the subject’s toy, home, imagined child- hood and promised adulthood; this world is the space between their past and their future.

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Laetitia Soulier, The Square Roots 2, C-Print, 40 x 80 inches | 102 x 203 cm

Within Soulier’s work we see a level of mathematical logic and accuracy. Using interplay between 1, 1/6 and 1/12 scales, the artist creates a world of false perspectives and delusions. We question our own sense of perception; we are voyeurs to the world behind the production of the photographs and Soulier’s deeper interest: the subjective experience of reality. “In Fractal Architectures, Soulier’s interweaving of theoretical concepts and her impressive artistry, are combined to produce visually stunning and profound experience” writes Allison Grant, Assistant Curator at the Museum of Photography in Chicago.

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Laetitia Soulier, The Square Roots 3, C-Print, 40 x 80 inches | 102 x 203 cm

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