Statues are often idealized works of art. They are ideological, political or religious representations and attempt to turn their subjects into fascinating, eternal figures. Even when erected to keep alive the memory of a single person, a statue that lasts many generations will eventually establish itself as a symbol for the community.
Statues are even more influential when they are monumental. An edifice can be said to be monumental when it is unusual, extraordinary and physically imposing. It has to be abnormal — as exceptional as the political or religious power itself — and also inseparable from its symbolic aspects.
The series “Colosses” is a study of the landscapes that embrace monumental commemorative statues.
As a wave of "statuomania" swept over the world in the 1990s, many huge statues were built. Most of them are located in Asia and represent the Buddha. The world’s highest statue is under construction in India — it will reach 182 meters.
Although hugeness is appealing and exhilarating in its own right, I was first intrigued by the human-sized desire behind these gigantic declarations. Then, I asked myself how such works could be connected to their surroundings. How can they fit in the landscapes, despite their excessive dimensions and their necessarily symbolic functions?
Thus, I chose to photograph the statues outside their formal surroundings (touristic or religious), and to favor a more detached view. This detachment enabled me to offer a wider view of the landscape and to place the monuments in a more contemporary dimension.
Human figures appear sporadically and confront their own insignificance in relation to the greatness of the symbols looming above. The physical relationship between the statues and their surroundings recalls the spectator’s own body, albeit on a grand scale.
Editor's Note: Fabrice Fouillet's work will be featured in our upcoming exhibition in London, "31 Contemporary Photographers: LensCulture Exposure Awards". The exhibition opens on April 1 at the London College of Communication. Be sure to join us for the opening party on April 3 at 6 pm.