Abstract Scenarios: A Silent Dialogue Between Body and Nature

Through the juxtaposition of collated natural materials and the human body, French photographer Ayline Olukman looks to depict the inexorable and visible transformation of time in her series Psyche: the winner of the Verzasca FOTO Festival prize awarded as part of the 2018 Women Photographers Grant.

Like a classical painter, I staged this photo series in my painting studio and outdoor locations. I see these indoor and outdoor landscapes as space where the body meets nature and negotiates their differences and similarities. I collect objects, some unchanging, others like flowers and fruits I let rot. Perishable subjects are attractive to me because of their observable transition. Their skin becomes a material that I love to look at: a new texture and colour appear.

I use vegetation as a visual language to link still life, landscape, and portraiture. Because of the fleeting nature of these objects, they become my new vision of nostalgia. I use classical art history subject matters as a reference and a starting point. I create a broken and weird Renaissance. Think of Bacchus by Caravaggio, a boy posing with a fruit basket, the sensuality of the skin and the boy's gaze, the drape, the absence of landscape in the background. We face the boy as we contemplate the imperfections and limitations of his mortal nature. I similarly juxtapose surreal, playful and slightly disturbing visions with underlying eroticism.

Words and Pictures by .


Ayline Olukman graduated with an MFA from L’École des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg (ESAD) in 2005. She is a multimedia artist whose work addresses the notion of intimacy, solitude and wandering, resulting in photography, painting, writing, etching and drawing. Find her on PHmuseum and Instagram.


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