Presented by Hayward Gallery, billboard commission, Station II (2015) by Noémie Goudal is typical of the way the artist likes to challenge our perception of reality in her photographs and installations, explains Cliff Lauson, Hayward Gallery curator.
Goudal often subtly stages and reconstructs parts of a scene and then photographs them. However, she is not interested in creating a perfectly seamless image – there are always edges of materials or other imperfections showing that give away the constructed nature of her images. Her work often causes viewers to do a double-take.
The high vantage point of the image in combination with its forested landscape recalls the romantic tradition in painting. Realised at such a large scale, this heroic view of nature sits uneasily with the surrounding urban environment, in particular alongside the Brutalist architecture of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery.
A large circle features prominently in the sky portion of the photograph. This suspended disc actually depicts a different sky that Goudal has previously photographed, printed out and affixed to a large circular support. The cables suspending this panel are visible, as are the individual sheets of paper tiled in a grid that make up the insertion. Goudal’s conceit, which she uses across her series of Stations, explores our fascination with the sky, and how we once thought of it as a flat surface that wrapped around the earth.
Installing this billboard commission is always a challenging feat. Abseilers need to descend from the rooftop using ropes. They work in a team for a day to unfurl the printed vinyl, fastening and tensioning it onto the permanent metal frame. Cliff Lauson, Curator
Noémie Goudal’s Waterloo Bridge Billboard Commission, 4 April – 6 June 2017 Find out more