Lucien Clergue (French, 1934-2014)
Lucien Clergue was a celebrated French photographer. During his childhood, his hometown of Arles was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing. This traumatic experience would influence Clergue’s early photography, as it centered around dark post-WWII imagery. A young and ambitious Clergue famously accosted Pablo Picasso outside of a bullfight and showed him his photographs. The two grew to become great friends and collaborators, and Picasso’s connections allowed Clergue to break into the elite art scene. By 1960, Clergue had developed his signature style: nude female portraits characterized by the omission of the model’s face and identity. As Clergue grew to international prominence, he continued to make images that centered around Arles and themes of death and fertility. Among many other awards, he was the first photographer to be honored with a membership in the Académie des Beaux-Arts de L’Institut de France in2006. Sicilian Botanic Garden was taken in Palermo, Italy in 1988. It demonstratesClergue’s fascination with nature, fertility, and the juxtaposition of light and shadow.
La Cosa Preziosa (Italian)
La Cosa Preziosa is an Italian sound artist based in Dublin, Ireland. She uses her own field recordings to create nature-based soundscapes. Her artist name, which translates to “the precious thing” refers to the fragility and beauty of the sounds found in nature. In her own words, the artist aims to “capture and celebrate life’s fleeting stories, sketching moments as we tend to experience them.” In recent years, La Cosa Preziosa has received awards like the “Europe: A Sound Panorama” juried prize and “Dublin City Council Artist’sBursary and Project Awards.”
La Cosa Preziosa’s piece Numphé was created in response to Lucien Clergue’s SicilianBotanical Gardens. In her words, “The piece imagines the pond of the Orto Botanico in Palermo as a fantastical meeting place: where sounds from its surroundings, formed both day and night, come to gather and mingle beyond time and space.” Numphé was created using field recordings from the South of Italy. The song’s name was inspired by the Greek word for nymphae, also the botanical word for the water lily. Numphé’s rhythmic nature sounds envelop the listener and works to elevate Clergue’s beautiful nature landscape.