Les Fougères (23), France. © Bruno Chalifour, 2004
This body of work is the result of the eery meeting of two like-minded individuals. Gérard Desplanques and I are twins in vision and sensitivity. He paints, I photograph. We met in 1991 at a common exhibition and we jumped at seeing each other's works. We accused each other of working from the other one's work without having the courtesy to mention it to him. We were both wrong.
We decided to challenge the meeting and extend the work. The production remained strictly parallel in their resemblance, even after I had spent a whole year in the United States, without contact, even when both our styles had evolved.
In 1997 when Gérard decided to move from town (Guéret) to country, and restore an old barn made of grey granite stones–the way farms and barns are traditionally built in the Limousin region in the center of France–we decided to work in a circle of about 500 m in radius around his new house, at the end of a small country road, at the very end of a 12-house hamlet "Les Fougères." Ten years later, we are still working within this area.
Les Fougères strictly means 'The Ferns" in French. They grow everywhere along the paths, the clear streams, under the chestnut trees and oaks for which the Limousin region is famous [that's where the oaks for the casks of Bordeaux wines and Cognac have grown for centuries]. The work is trictly about, as mentioned in the quote by Robert Adams in the introduction to this website, geography, biography, and metaphor. I was born among these frns, under the shade of these trees, eating roasted chestnuts and drinking fresh cider.