Polka Galerie presents the first monographic exhibition dedicated to Anglo-American artist Sze Tsung Nicolas Leong in France, entitled “Horizons”. The artist himself edited the color prints exhibited in this show. They all share the same skyline: a circular, continuous and homogenous line that circles visitors at eye level.
Sze Tsung Nicolas Leong has been working on landscape for more than 15 years. He visited and photographed hundreds of places around the world from giant metropolis bathed in fog or mineral light, to clouded sea landscapes, icy panoramas, touristic parks, deserts, rivers, tower fields and dried lands. Here, he modestly shares with us the images of a (very) big world tour, with some clues yet no precise geographic indications: because locations do not matter.
Paris, Toledo, Cairo, Chicago, The Ganges and the Garonne, a natural reserve in Kenya, a salt plain in Bolivia, a frozen lake in Iceland or a suburb in Beijing. Shot with view camera, these landscapes follow the same compositional principle. Men are absent – or barely visible – and the limit of what we can see in front of us, the limit of our experience, where the surface of the Earth meets the sky, is always located on the lower third of the image. The same laws of scale, perspective, escape plan, colors and horizontality rule each composition. The panoramic shots are exhibited in a row for the horizon of each image to merge and create a perfectly synoptic and simultaneous view, a representation system that disrupts the rules of framing as well as our cognitive limits.
From one horizon to another, our eyes follow a path guided by the thread of divine proportion. Beyond the optical frontier materialized by the horizon, Sze Tsung Leong’s journey is also a magical investigation as well as a metaphysical experience. Photographing the horizon is like pushing it further away; capturing a precise moment in time to overcome our blindness; staring at the frontier between the natural and the supernatural, the here and beyond, the profane and the sacred. No horizon without landscape. And no representation without horizon. This distant, romantic and magic line investigated by the artist both locates and anchors the viewer in space, leaving him faced with his finiteness, loneliness, dizziness and destiny.
From the “Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon” by Enguerrand Quarton to the “Agrigentes” by Nicolas de Stael through “The Monk by the sea” by Caspar David Friedrich, here Sze Tsung Leong employs photography to revisits an entire pictorial repertoire that studies the eschatological fantasies of the horizon (Koschorke / Grimaldi). As in Baudelaire’s poem: over there, all is order and beauty.