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Byzantine and Christian Museum :: Temporary exhibitions

Erieta ATTALIs new temporary photographic exhibition titled: WOODSCAPES / ERIETA ATTALI ON KENGO KUMA

06 June 2023

The new temporary photographic exhibition of the world-renowned and multi-award-winning architectural and landscape photographer Erieta Attali titled: WOODSCAPES / ERIETA ATTALI ON KENGO KUMA exhibited on display since June 16th 2023 at the Byzantine & Christian Museum.

Following the highly successful photographic exhibition Limina presented in the summer of 2021, Erieta Attali returns to the Byzantine & Christian Museum with a new exhibition that focuses on the wooden architectural structures by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, found scattered from the most remote parts of Japan to the centre of Paris.

Erieta Attalis photographic projects develop over long committed years and through many, many images. Yet for this, her second exhibition at the Byzantine Museum, she has distilled the profound dialogue she entertains with architecture into a selection of fifteen photographs. These are images of layered perceptions that capture the very essence of her approach to architecture and photography as complementary experiences of shifting opticality. Unlike commercial photography produced on deadline to document a recently competed building captured as a designed object, Attalis art is born of a sustained relationship with the entire body of work of a single designer attempting always to capture the very essence of the atmospheres that recur from work to work. Of the handful of relationships that Attali has honed in well over a quarter century as a photographer, none has been more reciprocal than that with the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. For the melding of designed space and environment is the objective of both architect and photographer.

In his combinations of the engineering feat of huge planes of glass with innovative interpretations of traditional Japanese wooden architecture, Kengo crafts spaces that fluctuate visually and experientially in the changing valences of natural settings. His works have an almost preternatural resonance with Attalis photographic practice. Through the glass lenses of her analog cameras she seeks to capture the interpenetration of found and manmade environments, merging hard and reflected surfaces into layered images that record atmosphere as the very substance of the art of Kumas architecture.

It is no surprise that Attali remembers her first encounter with Kumas work at the turn of the millennium as a powerful moment of elective affinity. Ironically enough she had first seen Kumas work through the medium of another photographers image, an image of the architects seminal early work the Water/Glass House in Atami, Japan. In that building vacillating transparency and opacity became the veritable building blocks of architecture even as recording them transformed Attalis photographic sensibility. The encounter with the building at first hand on a trip to Japan in 2001 was a powerful moment of elective affinity. Captivated by the sense that in Kumas work she had found the modern architectural equivalent of the relationship between setting and building, landscape and architecture, she had been exploring in years of photography of archaeological sites, Attali experienced Kumas work as a turning point, focusing her lens on the insertion of the new into ancient settings. As she recounts in a revealing interview with historian/critic Ariel Genandt, the encounter was transformative: “What fascinated me in the Water/Glass House was that the building is experienced like atmospheric conditions: when inside it, one feels part of the landscape…. My encounter with the house … helped me crystalize a particular photographic notion where architecture and landscape are continuous.”

Duration: 16th of June 2023 until Spring 2024