Noémie Goudal

The Geometrical Determination of the Sunrise

Noémie Goudal (Paris, 1984) is one of the most important representatives of a new generation of French photographers, she has in recent years developed a distinctive visual language that uniquely positions her within the field of contemporary photography. She was among the selected Foam Talents in 2012 which resulted in the publication of her portfolio in Foam Magazine #32. Since then, Foam has closely followed her powerful and consistent development.

Her work combines photography, film and installation through which she explores the visual and spatial experience of two- and three-dimensional relationships in the image. Also, the relationship between reality and artificiality as well as the interface between nature and human intervention are important themes in her work. The title of the exhibition refers to the history of architecture, in particular the way monumental buildings during the Archaic and Classical periods were built according to precise mathematical rules and the orbit of the sun.

She combines layered photographs of quiet, pure and mysterious landscapes typical of Goudal with (elements of) modernist architecture with an archaic character. The landscapes serve as a kind of theatrical setting and are characterised by an alienating, unreal aesthetic. The photographic series is the result of spatial interventions that take place exclusively in the physical place where the photographic works are created. Although the pin-sharp and almost unreal images are reminiscent of digital manipulation, they are in fact very carefully shot in analogue. Her working method requires an extremely concentrated and patient attitude as her images are created under very specific conditions. The final works are alienating and evoke tension due to the incorrect spatial relationships in the image, which reveal themselves only in very subtle ways.

Besides photography, she also presents recent video works, which are similar in theme to her photographs but where the human physical presence and its (often unproductive) actions play an important role. The video works are reminiscent of performances and are presented in a monumental way, thus enhancing their visual and spatial experience. Goudal also presents several installations such as Ciels (2012) and Study for Perspective 1 (2014), which dissects a photographic image of an architectural space.

Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2010, Noémie Goudal’s career has taken off. Her work has been presented in several international group exhibitions and in leading institutions. She also won several important awards and scholarships, such as HSCB Prix pour la Photographie in 2013. Her work is included in prestigious collections such as The Saatchi Gallery, Fotomuseum Winterthur, David Roberts Art Foundation and the Conran Foundation. She lives and works in Paris and London and is represented by Edel Assanti (London) and Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris).

The Geometrical Determination of the Sunrise is an initiative of The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK and produced in collaboration with Foam.

The exhibition is accompanied by a special publication with an essay by Marta Gili, director of Jeu de Paume in Paris.

Images © Christian van der Kooy for Foam.