Pictura Gallery

Blandine Soulage | Déviation

October 4, 2023

deviation 18

Public space can become a routine passageway in daily life. Perhaps we see things with fresh eyes for the first few trips across town, and then the specific details of the buildings we pass can recede into familiarity. Not so for Blandine Soulage, who projects her imagination onto every stairwell and ledge, scouting out urban nooks and walls as a theater for play. For her series, Déviation, Soulage collaborates with dancers, staging them in between architectural details. She captures them in unbelievable but completely unconcerned poses, draped over a ledge, or floating between columns.

It all happens in real time and space with real people, and not in post production. The viewer might already sense this without being told. Careful inspection of the leg muscles that are strongly gripping the wall, confirm that the scene was real. But a puzzle is born with each photograph, and in that puzzle is delight.

I love it when editorial photographers make art. Untethered from the obligations of a commercial assignment, they can unleash their finely tuned craft of visually irresistible photography (i.e. mad skills) towards the subject of their choosing. Soulage turns hers to the freedom of play. Her language is refreshingly minimal; her sense of color is intuitive and sophisticated, and she uses that color to activate and animate the architecture. She wants her compositions to open a poetic breach in reality.”

Déviation is meant to disrupt a few things — our spatial understanding, the daily commute, and maybe also the ingrained sense of our limitations. We take a detour from all of these fixed points for a minute of play, to interact with the built environment in strange ways, as if a modern Bert from Mary Poppins has arrived to snap his fingers and show us what’s happening on the rooftops.

-Lisa Woodward

DEVIATION c Blandine Soulage 20a

Déviation was just recently installed in a transit center in Lyon. Using upcycled materials and urban waste, Soulage and her collaborator made a kind of indoor bus stop, where a traveller can sit and be surrounded by the photographs. I love the circular nature of this installation — The artist mined the city for inverted perspectives and deviations from the expected. And then she brought them back into the grey urban space, offering a left turn away from the hustle, to any person who stumbles onto the installation.

Blandine Soulage lives and work in Lyon. See more of her photography here

Expo Déviation Lyon République B Soulage DSC0079a
Expo Déviation Lyon République B Soulage DSC0051 Avec accentuation Bruita