Jean-Luc Mylayne has remained unremittingly interested in philosophical issues which examine the concept of existence and the experience of time. Proceeding from his activities as a philosopher and poet, he pursues investigations in his artistic work, through the medium of photography, in which he focuses on the motif of birds living in the wild as a metaphor for his philosophical research. In a time-consuming procedure, for the last more than thirty-five years, on journeys through the entire European continent as well as in America, the artist has observed songbirds such as sparrows, thrushes, and wrens. He shows them in secluded wilderness settings as well as in proximity to rural settlements and agricultural operations, which he considers to be sites of transition between civilization and nature. Besides areas in his native country of France, Mylayne has spent extended periods of time shooting his pictures in Santa Fe, New Mexico and in Fort Davis, Texas. His nomadic way of life is based on comprehensive research with respect to the habitats of these animals and, like a natural scientist, he comes back to the same places again and again. Some aspects of Mylayne's working mode are the exploration of the terrain, the establishment of the photographic setting, the period during which the birds get used to the new situation, and the alert waiting over a period of several months. As a patient observer, Mylayne builds up a trusting relationship with the animals and immerses himself without interventions in the world which he is investigating until finally, at a moment determined by him beforehand, he records it. In contrast to the photographer of wild animals, who searches for spectacular views, Mylayne's goal is to produce an autonomous image which represents and stores the instant when the picture is taken as a temporal continuum. The work titles likewise emphasize the importance of the passage of time: They consist of an ongoing enumeration and an indication of the months during which the pictures were created. Most of the time, Mylayne produces his photographs as single copies, and they become part of a longtime pictorial archive in which the individual works stand in relation to each other.Read More
Jean-Luc Mylayne was born in 1946 in France, and he lives in various places throughout the world. His work was featured in ILLUminations at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. In 2010, he presented an extensive retrospective at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. In recent years, he has had solo exhibitions at the Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, 2009, at the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, 2009, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, 2008, at the Blaffer Gallery and at the Texas Gallery, Houston, 2007. The Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico supported his residence at the Bernal ranch and presented an exhibition of his works in 2005. In 2004, Laurent Busin curated a presentation at the MAC, Grand Hornu, Belgium. In his native country of France, Mylayne's works were to be seen at large exhibitions such as at the Musée d'Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne, 1991 and 1994, ARC/Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1995, Musée de l'Abbaye Sainte-Croix, Les Sables d'Olonne, 1993, Musée Bonnat de Bayonne, Le Carré, 1992, at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1990, and at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Calais, 1989.
Text courtesy Sprüth Magers.