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Philippe Neau

Étang Donné

Label: Unfathomless

Format: CD

Genre: Experimental

In stock


*2024 stock. 170 (hand-numbered) copies limited edition* Capture the unshaken density of water. The day. Birdsongs. The night. The clamour of the clouds. Summer. The breath of the trees. In spring. That of the fish, in the fall. Budding trees. Zenith sun. The blooming of flowers on a full moon night. The ripples blown by the wind across the scarlet surface of the pond. The furtive swing of the willow branches under a diurnal rain. Leaping insects in warm light. The hoarse cry of the rooster. In winter. The heavy air on a misty morning … the flimsy shadow of the frogs jumping in the breeze …

Mapping a place by sound. Sonically pacing … sounding a landscape … PhonoGraphing the pond in the village where I live seemed obvious to me for this project. This natural element, a piece of landscape both liquid and organic, had already fuelled my pictorial and mental imagination for several years. The pond being a few steps away from the workshop, I often go there to breathe, observe, record images, take materials, record sounds. There is a hidden link between this place and another imaginary world that I called Muori for a cycle of paintings. A hidden link with the islands of Reunion and the West Indies that were once inhabited. Moreover, an island surprisingly appeared right in the centre of the pond of Saint Jean sur Erve, at the end of the first lockdown. Strangeness of imagery plate and picture tectonics. Oddity of imaginary encounters.

This capture went on for quite a long time, after all. Several years, by small touches, in order to form sketches, waves, incomplete sketches, deaf to certain frequencies or colours of the place. The takes sometimes trigger gestures or rituals with or within the organic matter of the pond. The water is lapping. The steps are soft. Birds enchant the space. The drips glide over the oak wood. The squirrel fled as I approached. The pair of herons crosses to the other side mirroring my wanderings. These walks vary in length. They take place at various times. Looking for a surprise, a new sound, a revelation. The landscape is captured in a continuous and cyclical movement.

The materials are then confronted, assembled, cut, developed, remodelled, juxtaposed, superimposed to form a landscape, around the pond, a collection of sound memory, a stockpile of images. Layer after layer, the imaginary landscape transforms, moves and eventually turns into a fragile and tangible painting.

Etang donné appears -or would like to appear- as a mental landscape, a sensitive space, a sound painting that is neither realistic nor narrative of the place that was visited, probed, contemplated, surveyed, crossed, lived in, but simply the outcome of an experience of this pond. A sound piece with condensed comings and goings, swaying movements, endless “come backs”, concentric circles formed by multiple visits.

The song hatches. The painting becomes dense. The sounds swell. A “presence” resonates within us. We enter the material of the place, composite, organic." - Philippe Neau

Cat. number: U70
Year: 2021
LOCATION: Étang de Saint Jean sur Erve (small town in Mayenne), France. Sound recordings made between 2018 - 2020. Limited edition of 170 hand-numbered copies. Packaged in clear vinyl sleeve with folded insert & additional art card on 350gr satin paper. Glass mastered CD housed in antistatic inner sleeve.