How many times have you looked out of the window during the quarantine? Seeing life go by abnormally – no people on the street, no traffic jams, no shops, museums or clubs open. The sense of eeriness was floating, and little by little, as we get back to the so-called new normal, we see the world in a different light. For many, lockdown has provided an unusual time-space break for reflection and creation; such is the case of French photographer Florent Tanet, who has worked on a series titled A picnic on my Velux window.
Even though we had been hearing news about the Covid-19 outbreak in China for months and Europe was trying to be prepared for it, the unprecedented health crisis caught us all by surprise. “Quarantine time was rather sudden for us in France; all the projects in progress were stopped or postponed. We had to adapt to the situation very quickly,” Florent explains. But before the government asked citizens to stay at home as much as possible, the artist had the opportunity to escape Paris and live in a more relaxed, natural environment – “The conditions on the new site allowed me to spend the lockdown in the best way possible, much more relaxing than it could have been for me in Paris.”
When he left the French capital, he found himself immersed in a totally different environment, where he found “another rhythm of life,” which he says “paradoxically gave me a form of freedom in work.” As a result of this new, more relaxed pace, Florent had the opportunity to focus on his personal work. “Working in new conditions was rather inspiring for me,” he says happily. And it turns out, he even had the time to create a new series – A picnic on my Velux window.
Ftanet Velu X11.jpg
“The window is an important reference in the philosophy and history of art, and it took on its full meaning in this period of confinement,” the photographer says. Indeed, windows have been the subject of many renowned artworks, from René Magritte’s paintings to Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rear Window. But Florent used one specifically: a Velux. “What is interesting is that it is turned only towards the sky, it does not give us direct access to the social world and does not show us external life. It is an opening towards the imaginary.” And so, Florent’s imagination flew away.
Inspired by picnics, which he associates with “a feeling of freedom – whether you live in a city or in the countryside,” he decided to place different objects and create still life scenes reminiscent of our pre-quarantine day-to-day lives: food, board games, candles… “It started with a few objects placed on the glass, then I created these scenes,” he says about the creative process. The result is a series of surrealist images that make us see everyday objects from a different point of view. “I see a little magic in these visuals. What can be an ordinary situation (a breakfast or a game) suddenly becomes a surreal moment. Objects mix in the sky, the fruits become elements of architecture. A game of dices becomes in this context and on the Velux much more than a simple game – it’s a dreamlike moment.”
Ftanet Velu X7.jpg
Ftanet Velu X13.jpg
Ftanet Velu X4.jpg
Ftanet Velu X10.jpg
Ftanet Velu X1.jpg
Ftanet Velu X8.jpg
Ftanet Velu X12.jpg
Ftanet Velu X2.jpg
Ftanet Velu X3.jpg
Ftanet Velu X9.jpg
Ftanet Velu X6.jpg