by Josée Pedneault

Seventy-five photograms. For each day, one object, one image. That is the protocol for Contre-jour, the result of a photographic experiment conducted by Canadian artist Josée Pedneault in Tokyo. Contre-Jour is deployed akin to a solar calendar that situates the world in time while equally representing illusions of permanence. The only medium needed here is sunlight: three months or exposure for the first image versus a single day for the last one.
As a counterpoint, photographs of cherry trees– dense and granular, underexposed at nightfall – similarly and intimately depict the awareness of time passing. A new solar system, composed of hazy spheres, fugitive constellations, or small evanescent planets, emerges into abstraction. For centuries, the sakuras have metaphorically expressed a sensitivity to the ephemeral ; a spiritual symbol for the beauty of things, but also – through their impermanence – for the fragility of life.
Turned toward the sun, the photograms reveal a state of introspection. For the sun is, in turn, a source of creation and of destruction. The flow of time is stopped but can never be reversed, as the photograms are not fixed on the paper. Each exposure to the sun will fade them further, until they eventually disappear. Contre-jour goes against this established disappearance by preserving these fragile images in a durable format. The book in its structure responds to the calculated rhythm of the photograms, and in its materiality, to the physical qualities of the original work. The printed object is a tangible experience, with a deep-seated duality. The impermanence of images, the impermanence of cherry blossoms. Instants, not affixed to a suspended time.