What do the landscapes around us reflect? Who shapes them? What do they reveal about how we live? These are the questions that art photographer and videographer Isabelle Hayeur raises in her exhibition as she assesses the lay of the land.
This selection of images and videos, taken from three series produced in Québec and Europe – mirroring a globalized world – gives spectators an opportunity to grasp the issues related to development of territories by speculating on what will become of the places and communities concerned. Thus, the works presented illustrate transformations that are remodelling territories and daily life, on the local, regional, and international scales. Hayeur examines recent changes to habitats and societies, raising common concerns and questions about ecology, urban planning, and development.
In modern Western societies, the environment and landscapes are developed to profit the economy, and the impacts of these decisions on populations and ecology aren’t always taken into account. These upheavals, often brutal, destabilize communities and cause ruptures that upset the equilibrium of places lived in. The word dépayser would be translated as to disorient, which is defined as “To cause to lose bearings: displace from normal position or relationship; to cause to lose the sense of time, place, or identity.” This notion, at the core of the exhibition, is important to Hayeur, as it underlines the loss of reference points following the development and landscaping of spaces. Today, how territory is organized is the subject of much debate. This is why major infrastructure construction projects are regularly confronted by unhappy, concerned populations.
Although Hayeur is known for her modified and recomposed landscapes made through skilful digital recombinations, she is also interested in a more documentary approach, in which she reports on and highlights citizen demands. For her first individual exhibition at the Musée d’art de Joliette, Hayeur thus opens a reflection on universal issues. The realism of the images and the landscapes portrayed convey an engaged discourse that refers spectators to their own realities, provoking awareness of arbitrary urban-planning practices and unrestrained exploitation of natural resources.