Éric Bourret Walks Alone

June 13 - August 3, 2019 
Tribeca Art + Culture Night Special Opening: June 20, 6-9pm

Sapar Contemporary is proud to present Éric Bourret Walks Alone, the artist’s first NYC exhibition with the gallery. As an “artist-walker” Éric Bourret embarks on long solitary journeys to documenting walks through diverse and dramatic topographies: the mountains of his native France, the Himalayas, the deserts of South Africa and the Americas, the icebergs of Greenland and the rainforests of China. Bourret’s photographs also operate as evidence of the deep physical and sensory transformations that the activity of long-distance walking elicits: “it heightens perception and receptiveness to the surrounding landscape.” Emmanuelle de l’Écotais, Curator at the Photography Department of the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, connects Bourret’s practice to the tradition of Romantic artist-wanderers such as Caspar David Friedrich, as well as their literary counterparts like Chateaubriand, Lamartine, Sand and Nerval. Bourret’s work is also regularly positioned in conversation with Land Art, more specifically with the production of his contemporary Francis Alys and his fellow “artist-walkers” Richard Long and Hamish Fulton. 

Éric Bourret’s images can be thought of as photographic notes in a surveyor’s score. They attest to a subjective experience, as he himself has theorized: “The landscapes that I travel through and that travel through me constitute me. I see the photographic image as a receptacle of forms, energy and meaning.” During his walks, which last from a few days to several months, the artist often superimposes different views of the same landscape on a single negative according to a precise conceptual and procedural protocol that stipulates both the number of shots and the length of the interval between them. These sequences intensify and accelerate the imperceptible movement of geological strata and suspend the temporality of the human experience of the landscape. The accident and the unexpected are integral to this method of aleatoric photography. The resulting photographic image deconstructs the coherence of the original image and creates a sensitive, shifting reality. The picture born of this “temporal layering” is vibrant and oscillating. Bourret’s oeuvre also includes more factual series which, through their documentary inclusion of date, place, duration, distance-travelled and so on, invoke the form and rhythm of a walking log (carnet de marche). 

His work has been the subject of many solo exhibitions and included in many institutional collections, including notably the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Tamaulipas in Mexico; the Musée d’Art modern et d’Art contemporain in Nice; the Musée Picasso in Antibes; the Maison Européenne de la photographie in Paris; the Muséu da Imagen in Braga, the Musée de l’Élysée in Lausanne, the Fondazione Italiana per la Fotografia in Turin; the Shenzhen Art Museum in China, and many others. This summer Bourret has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Xie Zilong Photography Museum, XPM in China