The Duration of the Wild——Jeffrey Blondes Solo Exhibition

13 May - 30 July 2023 Xiamen
"In the forest, everything moves. Not only are the leaves blown by the wind, but the roots push up the ground. It all moves together as if it were a huge lung that is breathing. This is the tide of the air, which keeps the tree trunks and branches swaying and when you are on the ground, you become subconsciously aware of everything in subtle, constant movement. If you are slow enough, you might experience the feeling of something akin to being in a womb."
Blondes kept talking about his creation, the rhythm of nature, planetary motion, the tides, and slow meditation. His voice was transformed into electric waves that travelled at light speed across Eurasia and arrived in my ears. To me, a young man immersed in the digital age, this content was fresh. What I was accustomed to were things that ran at other speeds, internet signals that travelled at the speed of light, screens with 120Hz refresh rates, airliners cruising at 1000km/h, and packages delivered the next day.  Nature and its rhythm have been ignored as a silent background in the clamorous and fast-paced modern world. Through his artwork, Blondes aims to slow down our observation and thinking, so as to pay attention to those dimensions of time and transformation of nature that are neglected by daily life.
The exhibition features six videos and nine prints. Most of these works were taken around his home in Touraine, France, or along the Loire River's banks in Chouzy, while two were made in Sweden, 200 kilometres above the Arctic Circle. Early in his career as a painter, Blondes did a great deal of landscape painting. Deeply influenced by the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, he is concerned with space, and the subtle changes it contains in the dimension of time. Eventually, this focus brought him to the medium of moving images.
Whilst working near the Loire, Blondes spent an entire year contemplating the river and its surrounding fields. From summer solstice to winter solstice and back again, six months for shooting sunrise and six months for sunset, two hours each day, the resulting videos were then condensed into a series of 12-minute movies. For the audience, these films are almost like still photos, but just as we may believe that it is probably a still picture, the leaves are slowly blown or a bird suddenly sweeps across the frame. Such surprises pull our attention back and slow down our observation, gradually emulating nature's cadence. Thus we can observe the astounding variations in colour throughout the year. Moreover, in his film "Loire at Chouzy Ouest Optic Grid", Blondes averages and compresses the colours from each video at each minute and plays them in a grid simultaneously, allowing us to perceive those layers of colours flowing through the duration of time.
Other works in the exhibition take a similar approach, with some concentrating on the ebb and flow of the seasons, the celestial bodies' movements and others on changing fields and forests. These works remind me of Henri Bergson's concept of "duration(durée in French)". In his discourse, "duration" can be understood as a time-based notion that is not a precise moment-by-moment one, but an infinite consistent flow encompassing the existence and movement of all matter in between, pointing to the ever-changing entity itself. From such a perspective, Blondes's creation, and even our audience’s viewing, can be seen as an act of merging ourselves with everything in the world. With our intuition, we leap with the artist into the duration of being, and consequently, boundless perspectives and endless moments emerge into our consciousness.
Text/ Li Zijian