Prepare yourselves for a colourful kaleidoscope feast for the eyes. Karine Laval: Reflections is a new exhibition at London's Crane Kalman Gallery this July that celebrates 15 years of work by the contemporary French photographer.
Organised to coincide with the publication of a major new book on her work by Steidl, the show charts the evolution of Laval’s images from sun-drenched, bleached-out European lidos to darker, more abstracted dystopian landscapes.
It will bring together two connected bodies of work (some of which we can share with you here) – 'The Pool' and 'Poolscapes' – focused on the motif of the swimming pool and realised over ten years.
‘The Pool’ series invites us into a sun-bleached public pool, evocative of childhood memories and the universal experience of holidays and water.
The geometric lines and familiar architectural structures give way to the abstract, often blurred shapes and colours of the ‘Poolscapes’ pictures that oscillate between representation and abstraction. Here, the pool becomes a metaphor, a mirror whose surface reflects the surrounding world but is also a gateway into a submerged realm where bathers are distorted and fragmented, revealing the unconscious and darker connotations of the pool.
Alongside these earlier works, the exhibition will present Laval’s most recent series, ‘Heterotopia’ which continues Laval’s evolving exploration of distorted realities and altered perceptions, resulting in seductive manipulations of light and colour.
The images from ‘Heterotopia’ are densely layered photographs of gardens and other manicured "natural" environments, created by combining analogue techniques and digital technologies.
Placing sheets of glass and mirrors in the composition, and employing skewed perspectives and extreme crops, the images in ‘Heterotopia’ take on the appearance of unsettling movie stills or extra-terrestrial landscapes, suffused with the luminescence of stained-glass windows. Laval’s images often challenge familiar perceptions of environment, acting as bridge between the world we live in and a more surreal and dreamlike dimension.
It's a must-see exhibition. Karine Laval: Reflections kicks off at the Crane Kalman Gallery on Brompton Road in London on 20 July and runs until 19 August 2017.
Main image: Untitled 46 from Heterotopia © Karine Laval