Fotografiska
Museum of Photography

Opening hours

09:00 - 23:00
Closed today
09:00 - 23:00
09:00 - 22:00

Noémie Goudal | Stations

Museum - Open today 09:00 ― 23:00

Illusory views and fantastical constructions. What is reality and what is fiction? Layer by layer, Noémie Goudal constructs photographs which convert the viewer into the transfixed co-creator of an intimate private universe, a universe which Goudal is now generously sharing. The exhibition Stations shows results born from thorough research and meticulous planning, and punctuated by intuitive impulses, playing out in rugged terrain.

The creative process has always flown naturally for Noémi Goudal (born in 1984), and how she creates...

With a singularly personal layering technique using a spectrum of perspectives, this French artist, active in photography, sculpture, installation and film, builds up her narratives, both figuratively and literally. Narratives which challenge you, the viewer, to interpret and respond to.

Following the completion of her MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, Goudal has divided her time between Paris and London.“The final result for each of her photographs is arrived at through an extremely time-consuming, minutely detailed working process. She buries herself in research to find environments that pique her interest, photographs cut-outs of these and then places huge prints directly in the landscape, on structures which reflect the lines of their surroundings but which nonetheless remain conspicuous.The effect when she then photographs the scene she has created is a form of optical illusion. The exhibition features works from Goudal’s series

“The final result for each of her photographs is arrived at through an extremely time-consuming, minutely detailed working process. She buries herself in research to find environments that pique her interest, photographs cut-outs of these and then places huge prints directly in the landscape, on structures which reflect the lines of their surroundings but which nonetheless remain conspicuous.The effect when she then photographs the scene she has created is a form of optical illusion. The exhibition features works from Goudal’s series Southern Light Stations, Towers and Observatoires, and we at Fotografiska are truly delighted to now be able to share her universe with our guests,” says Johan Vikner, Exhibition Manager at Fotografiska.

When first encountering a piece from Goudal, you may think you see a building peculiarly situated in a body of water. Or, on second glance, is it a somewhat curious rock formation? Upon closer inspection, you realise that it is a detail from a piece of brutalist architecture, reflected on the surface. Eventually it dawns on you that, in actual fact, the work is a photo, strategically placed against a backdrop to create the mystifying illusion. Reflections which lead your thoughts onwards to new experiences and discussions, something which meaningful art is a superb platform for.

Goudal’s creative process is long, beginning in earnest with detailed research as she pores over library books, interviews experts, mines the internet for information and travels to far-flung places to capture arresting images that awaken her interest. Only thereafter can she begin to plan the photography which will bring the final piece to life.

“Curiosity has always been a strong driving force for me, and my creations require me to push myself to achieve something for every separate layer. I love discovering and understanding new things before even considering the actual construction and implementation, which my team works on. Preparing a photography session is like planning an adventure or a small film shoot, and all the organisational requirements this entails gives my life balance,” explains Noémi Goudal.

Working in a team, and the energy this both gives and takes, is a critical part of Goudal’s work. To be part of her team means to occasionally be faced with tough physical challenges, setting up installations in inhospitable places for hours on end, so there is no room for anyone who is not committed to the work. The team has a number of recurring members, who share Goudal’s vision of allowing the art to speak for itself. However, she also brings experts into the fold, with the unique skills needed for every specific project, such as for building a construction which will later become part of an installation.“To be able to see these experts operate in their specialist areas is incredibly valuable. It gives me the feeling that I can bring my entire universe with me, and I am careful to make sure that everyone is involved and contributes to the core of my research. That they also become a part of the story. I am so humbled by the creative exchange that arises when their belief in the project extends so much that they want to take it further than the brief.”

“To be able to see these experts operate in their specialist areas is incredibly valuable. It gives me the feeling that I can bring my entire universe with me, and I am careful to make sure that everyone is involved and contributes to the core of my research. That they also become a part of the story. I am so humbled by the creative exchange that arises when their belief in the project extends so much that they want to take it further than the brief.”

Such as when a fascination began to bubble up in Goudal for architecture’s relationship with nature, exemplified by the concrete heft of brutalism, with its geomorphic illusion of mountainous rocks and cliffs and its visual contact with the sky.

Following this train of thought, her research delved into how people throughout the ages have considered buildings and their symbolic connection to the heavens. She studies ancient scientific researches, for example the ancient Egyptians who built Cheops to align with the constellation Orion, to Aristotle’s idea that everything above the stars was in order (Cosmos means order in Greek), while the space between Earth and its moon was in motion therefore chaos just as life on Earth, everything too sacred to even be questioned. When Tycho Brahe discovered Stella Nova, the appearance of a new star in the celestial sphere, the idea of the sky as an incorruptible entity crumbled, and science suddenly dared to query the subject...and the rest is history.

This is the richness of thought upon which Goudal’s universe is founded, and which she now chooses to share with us in the exhibition Stations.

Exhibition: September 7–November 18