Says Olivier: This selection of 10 recent photographs is part of a long-term and ongoing personal project : ‘Fragments of Lakes’ (1995-2017). This work started on the shores of the Lake Geneva in France and Switzerland as I arrived in this region in 1995. My approach consists in using the unintentional aesthetic of the man-made objects or structures left alongside the lakes to reveal a personal appreciation of their beauty and the way they pertain to the landscape. It also depicts my interrogation about the influence of these objects on the perception we have of the waterscape and the way they affect it.
Once they are no longer in use, these constructions are rarely dismantled but rather left abandoned. They become parts of the landscape and most don’t pay attention to them anymore. They gradually belong to the sceneries until they are completely mingled and become the indicators of the passing time. To me, these objects are actually more constructive elements than disruptive ones. Beyond the reasons why they were built, they affect drastically the subjective eye. They redefine the shape of the shores, they create a scale effect and finally become the landscape in itself. These remains deeply call me to mind for their singular expression and sometimes for their spiritual presence. Little by little, this continuous project has been built in many places in Europe and in Japan where the Lake Biwa has become an important place of inspiration for many years among my different projects about this country.
Olivier Robert is a professional photographer sharing his life between Europe and Japan. Born in Belgium (1970), he was initiated to photography at the age of 15. At that time, he also discovered Asia. This intense experience has drastically influenced his way of life and his vision of the world. From then on, photography, traditional ink-painting and Asian philosophy have been closely linked. In 1994, he graduated from the Institute of Landscape Architecture (Belgium) and left his native country for Switzerland. As he arrived in the Lake Geneva region in 1995, he started a photographic project about the lake. This project is still continuing 20 years after and has pushed him into visiting many other lakes in the world, particularly in Japan. Having experienced the studio and commercial photography for some years, he decided in 2004 to devote his time almost exclusively to landscapes and waterscapes photography. In 2015, his works have been exhibited at the Lake Geneva Museum (Musée du Léman, Switzerland) as a 20-year retrospective and have been published in a book for this occasion.
For his continuous projects as well as family reasons, he often gets thoroughly across Japan looking for specific landmarks which convey timelessness, simplicity and sometimes mystery. This approach has led him to the most remote places of the archipelago, through mountains, temples and shrines about which he has also carried out a project on the Buddhist statuary and sacred sites for years. His works have been frequently published and have been worldwide exhibited in galleries and museums. Olivier Robert is represented by galleries in France, Switzerland and Japan. He is also a winner and finalist of several international photography awards.