February 4 - March 26, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 4, 6-8 pm
Press release Images
Land of Nothingness
Namibia is a country of deserts with barren stretches that yield only to subtle variations of the same aridness. Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to invite you to step into this unforgiving environment with the newest work from Maroesjka Lavigne: Land of Nothingness. From this desolation, Lavigne composes a visual symphony. The animals and the very landscape in which she finds herself appear to respond to her camera lens. The resulting images are harmonious compositions that showcase the natural rhythm of the desert with wildlife sightings and staggering landscapes as highlights to the monotony.
Though at times the sameness can be hard to navigate, Land of Nothingness uncovers the unexpected beauty often hidden in plain sight on the scorched earth of the Namib. Lavigne reveals the carefully balanced order that comes with life on an unrelenting desert. Four Giraffes shows the cadence in which all of nature moves. These giants tower over every other animal on Earth but are dwarfed by the majestic wildness of the desert, becoming a part of the pattern of the land. Evidence of human encroachment on the natural beauty of Namibia is few and far between, this is a place at the mercy of the rule of the elements.
Gaze shows just how minute human influence is when their presence can be nearly mistaken for parched vegetation. Lavigne has ventured into a world devoid of the consumer culture and instant gratification to which we have grown accustomed. In this is a place where hours of driving pass before you see anything other than sand dunes you must confront your own insignificance.
Land of Nothingness is Maroesjka Lavigne’s second exhibition with the gallery the first, Ísland, was shown in 2014. Lavigne’s work has been shown internationally in Japan, Italy, and Belgium. In late 2015 Lavigne was awarded the Harry Pennings Award with her series, Not Seeing is a Flower. She has also won a LensCulture New & Emerging Photographers Grand Prize. The artist's work has been featured in The New York Times Style Magazine,Aesthetica Magazine, and the FOAM Magazine Talent issue. Lavigne lives and works in Ghent, Belgium, and graduated with a Masters in Photography from Ghent University in 2012.
Lavigne in Wall Street Journal
The Beauty of Everyday India, the Vast Emptiness of Namibia
William Meyers | March 6, 2016
Maroesjka Lavigne has a talent for making do with very little. In “Ísland,” her 2014 exhibition at Mann, Ms. Lavigne (b. Belgium, 1989) showed pictures from Iceland, vast white swaths of snow in the middle of which would be a wee house or a single vehicle. The “Land of Nothingness” is Namibia, in southwest Africa, and the arid deserts are barren, with only an occasional tree and sparse shrubs. The sun is so intense it seems to have bleached the land; the colors are varied, but all are muted. Ms. Lavigne will typically place an animal, or some other object of interest, in the center of her image, the very place artists are taught in Photography 101 to avoid. For her, though, the compositional device seems to signify that the nothingness is not complete; look, a lioness! Or, look, an ostrich!
The ostrich’s black feathers stand out like an inkblot against the whitish plain and pale-blue sky. But the lioness’s tawny fur blends in with the faded colors of the shrubs in which she sits, staring inquisitively at the camera. Four giraffes travel single-file across the desert, their immense height miniaturized by their distance from the photographer. In “Gaze, Namibia” (2015) it is a man with binoculars who is dwarfed by the vastness of his surroundings. For “White Rhino, Namibia” (2015), however, Ms. Lavigne got so close to the beast that its monumental body almost fills the frame, its color mimicking the environment.
To view the full feature, click here.
AEsthetica Magazine interviews Maroesjka LAvigne
Interview with Maroesjka Lavinge, Land of Nothingness, Robert Mann Gallery
Aesthetica Magazine | March 8, 2016
Photographer Maroesjka Lavigne’s latest exhibition Land of Nothingness is currently on view at Robert Mann Gallery, New York. This new show, Lavigne’s second presentation with the gallery, invites viewers to step into the unforgiving landscape of Namibia – a country of deserts with barren stretches that yield only to subtle variations of the same aridness. From this desolation, Lavigne composes a visual symphony, where animals and the very landscape in which she finds herself appear to respond to her camera lens.
Longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize in 2015 and previously featured in Aesthetica, Lavigne’s work has been shown internationally in Japan, Italy, and Belgium. Last year, she was awarded the Harry Pennings Award with her series, Not Seeing is a Flower, and she has also won a LensCulture New & Emerging Photographers Grand Prize. Previous projects have taken the artist to Iceland, where Lavigne captured the blue and fading lights of wintertime. We showcased Blue Lagoon in the Aesthetica Art Prize 2015 anthology.
A: What was it that drew you to Namibia for your work Land of Nothingness?
ML: I wanted to travel to a place where nature was still in charge. Following my journey to Iceland a few years ago, I started to miss this feeling of travelling through such a dominant landscape. Namibia is a place where you see more animals than humans and I think that’s great to experience.
A: Your images illuminate a sense of calm and tranquillity. Does this translate the sentiments you felt as an artist working in south west Africa?
ML: I think that’s definitely a result of nature still having the upper-hand here. Life goes at a much more natural pace. The distances we had to travel were so long you got into some sort of very slow state of mind. Not hurried, and with no stress. There was nowhere to rush to. The travel itself was the experience.
A: How does it feel to have your work represented and exhibited at the Robert Mann Gallery?
ML: It feels great of course. I actually still have to thank Aesthetica. Robert told me he saw my pictures in your magazine! So thank you! I’m very thankful to be represented by them, as I would never have been able to get this audience without them. It’s great to get a range of exposure so different kinds of people discover your work.
A: In which ways does this work connect with other projects and pieces, such as Blue Lagoon?
ML: As I said, I had the same state of mind in Iceland as in Namibia, and I think you can feel this through the pictures. There’s a sense of wanderlust and tranquillity in these projects because of the overwhelming nature in these places.
To view the interview on Aesthetica's website, click here.