Photo: Swarmanoid II
Since the dawn of human imagination, many have possessed the desire to fly like a bird over land and sea, to take in the world from a perspective we can only dream. Flying through the sky evokes the deepest feeling of freedom released from the binds of gravity, able to soar into the air and travel anywhere we may. The desire is so deep, visions come to us as we sleep, for only in the unconscious state are we able to experience life in this way.
But such is human ingenuity that we have crafted machines to fly, and never inclined to rest on the successes of the past, we continue to push the envelope. Over a period of 12 years, Belgian photographer Antoine Rose developed a fresh, new approach to aerial photography that resulted in the critically acclaimed “Up in the Air” series.
We might describe his practice as “extreme photography” for the risks he is willing to take to get the shot as he straps himself to the outside of a helicopter flying 300 feet above the earth at 20 knots per hour. He is not working alone for he must collaborate with the pilot in order to get the perfect shot, as well as secure clearance from tower control, whether he is flying over the shorelines of Miami, the Hamptons, the Italian and French Rivieras or coasting over the mountaintops of Switzerland. But the photographs are worth the risk, as Rose has perfectly honed his skills.
In celebration of alpine season, Galerie Xin Art, Ars-en-Ré, France, has partnered with LVMH (Louis Vuitton/Moet/Hennessy) to present White, a selection of Rose’s new works currently on view at White 1921, LVMH’s new ski resort located in the legendary village of Courchevel, France. The exhibition, which features seven photographs from Rose’s Up in the Air series, is on display in the Grand Salon of the hotel through February 15, 2017. After the show completes, a selection of works will be on display all year round in the artist’s permanent collection at the resort.
Crave first became a fan of Rose’s work late last fall, when a selection of his photographs were on view in Up in the Air – New Works at Emmanuel Fremin Gallery, New York. His photographs create an impressive body of work that invokes a glorious harmony of abstract and figurative elements. The rhythms of color, shape, and line flow across the print, captivating the eye by simultaneously invoking the familiar and the strange. Although it is clear what we are looking at, the formal properties are so compelling we can easily forget what we are looking at and simply enjoy the photographs for the sheer pleasure it brings.
Rose has masterfully captured the scenes from our dreams, allowing us to experience life anew, to perceive the world from above and take in the view. The photographs call to mind so many things, from sprinkles on icing to Impressionist paintings. As you gaze upon his work, its very easy to forget everything, including yourself, as the works hold you captive for a moment and time ceases to exist. In this way, they are something of a holiday, offering the perfect escape from a life sent bound to the earth and the restrictions that creates.
“To be strapped outside a helicopter is not for the faint of heart,” Rose reveals and we are fortunate he has the temerity and will to do whatever it takes to get the shot so that we may partake in the pleasure and the thrill. He continues, “Man always tried to fly since the early age and having the possibility to fly like a bird above the sea and shoreline is something [of] magic.” Indeed, it is not just flight that it is magic, but the photographs themselves.
Originally published December 18, 2016.
Update February 12, 2017, with new information on the exhibition at the LVMH ski resort “White 1921” located in the town of Courchevel, France, along with new images from the show.
All photos: © Antoine Rose, courtesy of Emmanuel Fremin Gallery.
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Whitewall, Jocks and Nerds, and L’Oeil de la Photographie. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.