PISCINE DANS LA MER
It was a photo through which Michèle Matyn and Sarah Gerats first met;
A small black and white image from 1965 showing an Indian team of mountain climbers ascending a massive ice wall on the mount everest. Both of them had picked this image while browsing the archive of the FotoMuseum Antwerp, in preparation of the exhibition 'a specter from the land of if'. And for both of them it was the starting point for a travel.
The strange forms of the figures in the foreground directed Michèle Matyn to the highest point in Belgium, a forest from which she returned with mystical black and white polaroids showing some of the trees she encountered.
Sarah Gerats, fascinated by the extreme simpleness of the ladders with which these figures were mastering the mountain, undertook a journey as simple and direct; after discovering a live streaming fed by a webcam on a remote Island in the finnish archipelago, she took her bike and cycled there to cross the image.
In their approach towards traveling and working they are very similar; regularly they pack some clothes, a few cameras, choose a destination, and leave. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes for weeks, or months; without knowing exactly what the travel will bring, they search for full concentration and the stories that places might tell. But what they come back with is often very different.
Michèle has a quick and direct reaction, fascinated by myths, she approaches the landscape through it's mysteries. She often uses polaroid, a medium with an unpredictable outcome, able to form an image close to her experience of the place. Sarah mostly uses analogue cameras, thus, while traveling, for a large extend imagining what she is actually doing. Afterwards, she often focuses on the gap between the images and the experience of a place.
Fascinated by these differences and similarities they decided to undertake a travel together. Their destination was Ireland, their focus sharing the experience. Since traveling together didn't seem the most accurate way to share the experience of traveling alone, they decided to travel together in the most subtile way. So, one day in April, Michèle left with her Peugeot Partner modified into a mobile workspace and bedroom, and Sarah put up her tent in an apartment in Ghent. While Michèle was moving through Ireland, Sarah tried to catch the concentration and awareness of traveling without leaving the house. During this simultaneous journey they communicated through stories, images and text. What they made was inspired by the thought of the other and their parallel focus.