The word “landscape” didn’t appear in print in English until 1603. It is closely linked to the depiction of a country. During the Renaissance, pictorial art in the West forged the aesthetic view of the landscape. The artist transformed the landscape into a motif, searching for a revelation in the land register. Landscape was born through art, but born differently: in situ and in visu, at the intersection of the landscape designer’s attention and the artist’s gaze.
Natural beauty, the base level of landscape, requires the gaze to exist as a landscape. For a space to become a landscape, it must be contemplated, appreciated, recognized. It requires a step back, distance, a frame.
Landscape-Frames are set up along the paths of the chosen route. They attract the attention of the walker, offer a stopping place and allow time to concentrate on a tiny portion of the landscape crossed: a vista, a tree stump or a meadow.
The frame is gilt wood molding – a tribute to baroque art – mounted on a stand. A wooden log is set in front of the Landscape-Frame, inviting the walker to sit. He/she focuses on the framed section of the surrounding landscape, which forms a motif; the frame becomes the landscape. The walker becomes a contemplator, touching on the landscape painter’s essence through the eyes of the artist. Attention is focused; it is the beginning of a composition. As a further enhancement, a museum label is mounted under the frame featuring a haiku, message or mini story. Nothing descriptive. A poetic whisper, words of complicity between the path and the walker.
This device is part of COSMOLANDS, an installation articulated according to several principles; all are in the service of an appropriation and a dynamization of the places of life. We act in the heart of the cities, on the walls forgotten by the eyes, on the sidewalks where we do our shopping, on the writing lines of the crosswalks, along the mountain paths, in the middle of the forest, in the museums, the churches, the festival halls. To help to live, here is the main stake of COSMOLANDS. To help to live one’s space, to live one’s memory, to live the social body to which one belongs. To quote Pina Bausch: our action would seek to invent moments of pure love.