Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes

Demander au vent

           [Asking the Wind]

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     Montflanquin III from the  series Les heures bleues, 2020. © Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes

    Réservoir from the  series Les heures bleues, 2020. © Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes

    Lagruère from the  series Les heures bleues, 2020. © Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes

Thumbnail:  Escassefort from the series Les heures bleues, 2020. © Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes

This text was commissioned by Pollen in Montflanquin, for the project Les Heures bleues.

The first meeting with the artist and the first thoughts about this text started during my residency Dissiper les masses mouvantes [Dissipate the moving masses] at the art center Chapelle Saint-Jacques (Saint-Gaudens) in October 2021.

The Artist’s Website
Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes
I like the sound images, almost musical. The romantic silence that precedes the first sound as the night fades. This could be the beginning of a soundtrack, that of Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes' photographs in the series Les heures bleues.
Like introductory scene of a film, the first framing says everything of an atmosphere to first fixed view, focal length adjusted to the most accurate from the first to the last of the landscape; the viewer waits for an element that will cross the field. Will it come?

From the deep blue of the earth that declines in shades to the skies still between dog and wolf, there is the imaginary, supposed noise. The recognizable sound of a moped, of a dog barking, the hollow and muffled sound of a John Deere tractor door. With the first notes of the early rising passerine birds1, they are the first signs of dawn, when the chatter of life gently bursts out after the mute cloak of the night.
The rains sparkle in the sun, the wisps of mist represent the gods of the forests and gardens, the furrows in the wheat simulate the manual traces of the giants, a blue ping-pong table hopes for the tempo of the balls while an improvised hammock regrets the body it used to house. Silence.

          Ask the wind
          Which leaf will fall
          The first

Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes, in this set of photographs, does not position herself as a singer of nature but rather as a revealer of landscapes. The one of a collective imagery, bucolic and enchanting at the exit of the woods, at the bend of the rivers but especially the manufactured landscape, structured such as it appears these last years.
An urbanized nature now surrounds the countryside, which repudiates the picturesque, as if to defy the old bitter taste of the rural exodus and proudly boast of the return to the modern land. proudly of the return to the modern land.
The artist also deploys his gaze on the consequence of the pressure exerted on the rural world, the cloning of housing estates and activity zones that neutralizes spaces and places. Certain places are a sign as neutral and cease to be so as soon as attention is paid to them.3
Les heures bleues lead us, thanks to their geographically positioned titles, to a precise territory, between river and villages. Here, the bridges are marked by the impact of the panels while the stigmata of a wheel draw a snake on the sand of the bank. Life is there, in the recognizable green of the structure of a swing, the veiling of vegetable gardens and orchards, the bright colors of a fly curtain.
A careful application to color, light and flatness is present in her work. Like a painter, Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes works her palette, her surfaces and the deficiency of her blacks. Subtle, almost invisible to a distracted eye, the general softness of the colored beach sometimes bathes the series in a delicate unreality. The photographer has fun flattening her fields, like a postcard composition, she frames and adjoins the shots to avoid hierarchizing her subjects and make the lines emerge.

In the tradition of landscape photography4 , which very quickly assumed the role of revealing reality, Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes uses the absence and the lack to sketch out the characters. In her photographs she reveals the universal symbols of a bored adolescence in the countryside, the signs of the presence of the women and men who live there. There is for me, in this work of back and forth - a mixture of plastic photography and documentary knowledge of the subject - a filiation with the power and the fictional quality of the images of Thibaut Cuisset, walks and poetic paths often without characters.5

(…) it was a grass harp, a harp that harvested, told, a harp of voices that remembered a story. We were listening.6 The time spent on these roads, in the middle of fields and grass harps, following the lines of water and tarmac, hearing the voices and games of children, watching the trees and the sheets dance, Fernanda Sánchez-Paredes has exhausted these landscapes with benevolence. Does she feel, at the end of her beautiful work, this strange feeling that mixes appeasement, relief and "filling", as if returning from a distant journey?

Insensibly, as the watch wove the sound of time, the afternoon moved toward dusk. The fog of the river, the autumn mist, left moon-like pallor among the blue and copper trees, and a halo, an image of winter, encircled the fading sun.7 At the dawn, in the evening, it is fortunate that the blue hours still prevail.

Émilie Flory
Paris, January 2022

1. The black redstart and the robin are passerines, they are the first birds to sing in the morning, sometimes even before sunrise.
2. Natsume Sōseki, N°2245 Meiji 43, Automne,1910 in Haikus, Picquier poche, 2009
3. Jean-Christophe Bailly, Le Dépaysement. Voyages en France, Éditions du Seuil, 2011 et France(s) territoire liquide, Éditions du Seuil Collection Fiction & Cie, 2014
4. Read more on the subject, Christine Ollier, Paysage Cosa mentale. Le renouvellement de la notion de paysage à travers la photographie contemporaine, Éditions Loco, 2013
5. Photographies de Thibaut Cuisset, series Japon, 1997 ; Islande, 2000 ; Loire, 2001 ; Normandie, 2006
6. & 7. Truman Capote, The Grass Harp, 1951 [French Version: La Harpe d’herbes, 1953]


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