Many thanks to Little Lamb for sharing images from Mimesis (Die Natur erzeugt Ähnlichkeiten – La Nature produit des Ressemblances), a photo series by German artists Barbara & Michael Leisgen. Bodily themes and land art and grainy traces of German Romanticism come together quite powerfully in this early 1970s series — also their first.
Barbara Leisgen’s silhouette is set, and leaves its fleeting trace in landscapes; the actions involve stretching out her arms to follow the contours of undulating countryside (the Paysage mimétique and Mimesis series), or to include the sun in an arc drawn by her arm while she is seen from behind in the centre of the image (Die Beschreibung der Sonne – Description of the Sun_). While this last title, like a later one (_Writing of the Sun), harks back to the Greek etymology of the original ‘photograph’, the ‘heliography’ of Nicéphore Niepce, from ‘helios-graphein’, writing with the sun, it is conditioned by the human will framing it. This is not merely imitating nature through its gestures; it describes, in the sense of tracing, and channels it as well.
Text from Collection FRAC Lorraine, via Little Lamb. I love how she lingers around the countryside, how the contours of the hills come in contact with her shape in such a meaningful and healing way. I love her skewed body language and the lopsided geometry of her limbs and the hills and most of all I love so much how empty and still the images become once she leaves the frame. She sublimates the role of tourist in these amateur landscape shots with her back to us, with her shaman posturing, in communication with the natural and spiritual world.