Saturday, 8 May 2010

Three-dimensional "stage set", Languedoc Region, France

Over the years I have made a number of stage sets - three-dimensional models displayed under glass and elaborately framed

I have recently finished another one, this time featuring the villages and landscapes of the Languedoc, the region in the south of France where I live

The box that contains the model is about  20 cms. deep. This allows me to create about twelve layers, working from the back (sky and mountains) to the people in the busy market at the front of the frame

The images are taken from a series of engravings by Baron Taylor, a brilliant artist working in the early part of the 19th century here in France

The technique is simple enough - I photocopy the original images, stick them onto card, cut them out and arrange each separate element in the way I want, working from the back of the box to the front

The title of this model is "Ville imaginaire, Languedoc" and is entirely my own invention, although the original engravings are of course by Isidore Taylor

What I have tried to do is create an entirely original landscape, combining images of real villages and settings from over thirty of Taylor's pictures. This produces a somewhat surreal landscape but one which is never-the-less representative of this lovely region in the south of France

Once the model is finished it will be placed carefully in its especially designed box and frame

The trick here is to ensure that the wood that supports each visual element or layer is invisible from whatever angle the viewer might occupy when looking at the finished artifact

Not as easy as it sounds!

The final stage in its actual construction is to add the people to the streets and market place. This too is tricky as you have to change the sizes to create at least an illusion of perspective

The frame is currently under construction by my framer so please watch this space for the next and final stage of this particular "work in progress"!

(Photos by Mitch Phillips)

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