contemporary art / history of art

Artwork of the Month / March 2024

116 (Ascension)
Patricia Lascabannes

Digital print on hemp paper 290 gr
30 cm x 30 cm – edition of 5
60 cm x 60 cm – edition of 5
80 cm x 80 cm – edition of 5

The square black-and-white photo “116 (Ascension)” by Patricia Lascabannes shows a spiral staircase. Since the midpoint of the flight of steps is not centred in the image, the lower steps and the inaugural pillar of the metal guardrail are recognisable. At the railing posts, a rope is fixed a little bit under the banister. The curved white wall is compartmentalised by grey vertical pilaster strips, which might be supporting columns. Moreover, a cornice runs in parallel to the ascending stairs. There are no windows visible, but the incidence of light is coming from the upper part of the staircase. A wall lamp, depicted in bottom view seems not to be enlightened.

Obviously, we are not looking at an ordinary staircase from a residential or a business building. There are no landings of floors or doors observable. However, by the evident height we might guess that we are looking at the staircase of a tower. Additionally, the rope at the guardrail could refer to a building attached to shipping. Actually, Patricia photographed the staircase of the lighthouse at the Cap d’Antibes, south of France. It is situated on this peninsula at the Cote d’Azur on the plateau de la Garoupe. Therefore, it is called “Phare de la Garoupe” (Lighthouse of Garoupe) and was constructed in 1948. With the title “116” the artist bears on the number of steps that allow to go up to the height of 103 meters above sea level. Arrived on the top of the lighthouse, one could appreciate a 180° panoramic view of the sea, the shoreline and the environment.

With the subtitle “Ascension” Patricia refers to the climbing up of the stairs since the present photo is shot from the bottom. Nonetheless, the image does not show a real movement, because we are looking at a motionless architecture. Still, a certain maelstrom arises from the spiral form of the staircase and the increasing light at its top. This maelstrom could be a motivation to ascend the 116 steps and benefit of the overwhelming outlook. Besides, together with the double meaning of the subtitle, the rising to the light makes an allusion not only to the movement of climbing, but also to the Christian holyday of Jesus Ascension.

By its function, lighthouses are constructed to send light signals as navigational aid for maritime pilots to mark dangerous coastlines and safe entries to harbours. In consequence, our example is also situated close to the shore on an elevation. Probably, it is not accidental that Patricia has chosen one of these buildings, because one of her main interests in photography lies in the nautical world. Often, she takes pictures from sailing ships in the agitated sea. In the presented image, she changed her object into motionless architecture. However, she remained faithful to the principal theme and expressed even here a kind of movement.


Patricia Lascabannes

Born 1962 in Bordeaux, France, Patricia was fascinated by photography at the early age of 12. Nevertheless, at that time she didn’t think of making her passion a profession. First, she worked in various domains. It was in 1989, when she arrived at the Côte d’Azur, her vocation called her. She had the opportunity to photograph concerts at the Festival de Jazz in Juan-les-Pins and the International Cannes Film Festival.

The Régates Royales in Cannes 1990 showed her a specific direction. First, absolutely unfamiliar to the nautical world, Patricia fell in love with classic sailing boats. This passion was confirmed during different regional regattas and in particular at the “Nioulargue” in the Gulf of St Tropez. In taking this path as her professional direction, she can satisfy her affinity for travelling and meeting people at the same time as following her talent. Consequently, she also took pictures in other areas of the Mediterranean, in the Caribbean and the Atlantic, always aiming on boats and water. Besides, she undertook several journeys into the Algerian desert.

Patricia cooperates with many specialised journals, creates books, calendars and makes editions of her photos finding their admirers around the world. She had exhibitions and participated in photograph festivals in France but also in Antigua, West Indies. During her career, she was awarded by being selected to provide the photos for several posters of regattas, inter alia in 2009 for the Régates Royales in Cannes, 19 years after her first steps into the nautical world. In 2015, she was photographer of the year, selected by the AFYT (Association Française des Yacht de Tradition/French Association for Classic Yachts) with a photo of a regatta at the coast of Menton, France, showing in the background an impressive forest fire. Once again, she had the intuition to shoot in the right moment. Since 2018, her solo exhibition “Eaux – Mer” travelled several venues, starting at the Hôtel Royal of Antibes, France, arriving in Cannes in 2019, after other exhibitions in the region. Our artwork of the month September 2018 was presented in the context of the name giving series.

Although Patricia’s primary focus is the maritime photography, she shot portraits, cars, domestic interiors, landscapes and plants. All these photos have in common, that her professional eye guides her to find the right picture section with the best lightning. In the moving world, she finds the right moment to express the atmosphere of the situation. When she introduces coloured elements, they accentuate the composition. Recently, she even approached architecture. An example is our artwork of the month March 2024, where she featured the staircase of a lighthouse.

Patricia lives and works in Vallauris, France.