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  1. Aesthetica Magazine - Land of Nothingness

    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.


    Robert Mann Gallery - 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 MagazineAesthetica 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.


    Interview Magazine - Ísland

    April 2, 2014

    Maroesjka Lavigne, Once on this Island

    "When you take a picture in a beautiful place, you have to realize that nature isn't the background for your photograph," says 24-year-old Belgian photographer Maroesjka Lavigne. "Rather, you are its prop. The only thing added to the scene, after all, is you."

    During a four-month excursion to Iceland that began with an internship at The Reykjavik Grapevine, Lavigne became enamored of the country's stark scenery and how its people dealt with the challenges of going about daily life in an environment reigned by vast, inescapable nature. Steering away from typical depictions of Iceland's great mountainscapes and volcanoes, her work seeks instead to deconstruct the auras of intimidation surrounding these overwhelming forms, uncovering what makes Iceland a home to those who live there. The photographs carry a sense of familiarity and nostalgia for Reykjavik and its nearby towns that is marked by an uncanny awareness of our limited time on earth, through side-by-side portrayals of human life and the more lasting, terrestrial features. For Lavigne, nature is unconquerable, and everywhere: a small figure peers contemplatively over a bridge, allowing the falling snow to envelop his image in white, while a suburban street sleeps trustingly beneath an ominous, rust-colored sky. In "Ísland," her first solo show opening at Robert Mann Gallery this Thursday, April 3, Lavigne presents the rare findings of her travels in "moments when color, light and subject merge into the perfect image."

    To read the full interview, click here


    The Wall Street Journal - Ísland
    April 18, 2014
    William Meyers

    The young Belgian photographer Maroesjka Lavigne spent four months driving alone across Iceland. "Yellow House, On the Road" (2011) is one of many pictures dominated by snow. The little yellow house sits doll-like amid a vast expanse of white snow; the white is modulated with hints of blue and melds imperceptibly into a sky that is also white with suggestions of blue. The vehicle in "Autobus, On the Road" (2012) is a red touring bus, but most of its side and windows are plastered white with snow. It is parked in a white field before a small white building whose red roof is also mostly covered with snow. Snow is falling in "Black Church, Búðir" (2012); white streaks are set against a pale-blue sky, and the simple church endures in stoic isolation. The white in "Shrimps, Reykjavík" (2011), however, is a porcelain sink; 11 translucent-and-pink shrimp with black dots for eyes cluster around the stainless-steel drain stopper.

    There are three fine portraits: "Hildur in Her Car, Mosfellbaer" (2012), "Magni the Magnificent, Prikið, Reykjavík" (2011) and "Phantom, Krossneslaug, Westfjords" (2011). The first is an attractive young woman with auburn hair wearing a lace-fringed Peter Pan collar; light from an unknown source falls across her eyes. The second is a 17-year-old writer shown in a booth in a literary club, his hair slicked into place, and wearing suspenders and a polka-dot bow tie. The face of the male swimmer in the third is obscured by the rippled surface of the water.

    To read the article online, click here


    Photograph Magazine - Ísland
    April 2014

    In a photograph that recalls Caspar David Friedrich's Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, a lone figure overlooks Iceland's Gullfoss waterfall. Unlike Friedrich's wanderer, who towers confidently over the scene beneath him, Belgian photographer Maroesjka Lavigne's subject is nearly indiscernible in the landscape, his black clothing almost completely blanketed in snow.

    He's not the only person or man-made object made small by nature in Lavigne's series Ísland, on view at Robert Mann Gallery through May 17. A swimmer floating in a turquoise pool is rendered faceless by Lavigne's flash against the surface of the water. A red bus and a red roof are almost entirely veiled in white. Nature, if not humanity's superior, often seems at least its contemporary, a force with which to be reckoned.

    But Lavigne's perspective is not so simplistic. Just as often, we are forced to consider humanity's influence on nature. In one photograph, a smattering of pink shrimp lie fetus-like across a clinically white kitchen sink. In another, taken at Reykjavik's Blue Lagoon, the tops of bodies are dots across the landscape, drifting in a cloud of steam rising from the water. Or is that haze from the industrial facility, just visible in the background, spewing clouds of smoke from a set of chimneys?

    To read the article online, click here


    Artnet News - Ísland
    May 12, 2014
    Elizabeth Manus

    Some words for Ísland, or Iceland as it's written in Icelandic: hoarfrost, white-hot, névé. And now, some pictures for Ísland, each of them on display at Robert Mann Gallery. Here work by the young Belgian photographer Lavigne, who (according to press materials) drove alone across Iceland for four months, evokes the kind of world that a 19th-century snowshoe-clad loner could love—spare, brightly lit, and miles from cities jammed with multi-story filing cabinets stuffed with people and their belongings. Snowmen, Reykjavik (2011) shows a circle of sun-faceted snow menhirs (clean white) foregrounding a lone soccer goal on a grassy field, a line of blue water and, farther in the distance, ghost-white houses. Phantom, Krossneslaug, Westfjords (2011) has a man just below the surface of a glacial pool, the dapple of light and liquid erasing his facial features. A Kelly green Excavator, On the Road (2011) raises the question of what Iceland needs to clear away in order to develop. Perhaps some precincts of the world deserve their blank spaces, Lavigne suggests, deserve to be left to themselves and their own quiet thoughts—like the faraway-eyed young woman in Hildur in Her Car, Mosfellbaer (2012), or the individuals taking the thermal waters in 2011's Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik. Or artists.

    To read the article online, click here.


    Island
    Robert Mann Gallery
    Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to announce the representation of Maroesjka Lavigne with Ísland, her first solo exhibition at the gallery. At the age of 21, the young Belgian photographer Lavigne spent four months driving alone across Iceland, pulled to the stark scenery. Yet rather than observing a poetic landscape of azure springs and silent snow, Lavigne's bold, cinematic images tell a tale of an out-of-the-ordinary everyday. Moments of unexpected familiarity jibe with unconquerable strangeness: a suburban street sleeps under rust-red night sky; an arctic fox perches unperturbed in slat-fenced Reykjavík backyard. White-capped mountain mounds bump against villages in a vision more akin to Candyland than Iceland, while half-melted snowmen form a small Stonehenge on a soccer field. Flights of fancy, however, are punctuated by Lavigne's haunting portraits of people met along the way—like characters in a silent film, they flicker between nostalgia and sudden, striking tangibility. And everywhere, always, are shades of white. Snow becomes an amorphous studio backdrop, indeterminate but infinitely malleable. It swallows ground and sky; coats buses, boats, and intrepid sight-seers; and then transforms again into a bleached sink basin, chalky house paint, and a plume of white steam. In Ísland the world may be pale, but life is anything but colorless. Lavigne's Ísland series was selected by FOAM Magazine as a finalist in the prestigious Foam Talent Call, has won a LensCulture New & Emerging Photographers Grand Prize, and was previously shown at the 2012 Photo Academy Awards and the Unseen Photo Fair in the Netherlands. The artist's work has also 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.

    Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to announce the representation of Maroesjka Lavigne with Ísland, her first solo exhibition at the gallery. At the age of 21, the young Belgian photographer Lavigne spent four months driving alone across Iceland, pulled to the stark scenery. Yet rather than observing a poetic landscape of azure springs and silent snow, Lavigne's bold, cinematic images tell a tale of an out-of-the-ordinary everyday.

    Moments of unexpected familiarity jibe with unconquerable strangeness: a suburban street sleeps under rust-red night sky; an arctic fox perches unperturbed in slat-fenced Reykjavík backyard. White-capped mountain mounds bump against villages in a vision more akin to Candyland than Iceland, while half-melted snowmen form a small Stonehenge on a soccer field. Flights of fancy, however, are punctuated by Lavigne's haunting portraits of people met along the way—like characters in a silent film, they flicker between nostalgia and sudden, striking tangibility.

    And everywhere, always, are shades of white. Snow becomes an amorphous studio backdrop, indeterminate but infinitely malleable. It swallows ground and sky; coats buses, boats, and intrepid sight-seers; and then transforms again into a bleached sink basin, chalky house paint, and a plume of white steam. In Ísland the world may be pale, but life is anything but colorless.

    Lavigne's Ísland series was selected by FOAM Magazine as a finalist in the prestigious Foam Talent Call, has won a LensCulture New & Emerging Photographers Grand Prize, and was previously shown at the 2012 Photo Academy Awards and the Unseen Photo Fair in the Netherlands. The artist's work has also been featured in The New York Times Style MagazineAesthetica 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.