> Edgar Morin
... c'est extraordinaire... chaque image fait rêver,
penser, méditer... tu es notre visionnaire...
Michel Kirch: The Awakener ...
“Surrealism” has become a trite word, emptied of its meaning. Today, surreal just seems to refer to anything bizarre or unexpected.
But, to my mind, Surrealism was probably the richest cultural movement of the 20th century: a poetic movement that was also a school of thought and a way of life, in that its goal was to live poetically. The surreal surpasses the real, while containing it. The movement has since expired but the surreal lives on, now more than ever, if by surreal we mean all that surpasses our tridimensional reality, while at the same time preserving it.
Posterior to the movement, Michel Kirch did not of course partake in it. And surrealism, which invented so many ways of transfiguring reality, including collage, had not imagined his original pathway. No one had yet thought of creating poetry out of the assembly of heterogeneous photographic elements, his innovative creative contribution. The photographic realism of his work is the essential, sufficient ingredient of the art of his compositions. They transfigure the real, imparting it with dreamlike qualities that are not unreal…but surreal.
Others may have spoken of the magical realism or “transreality” of Michel Kirch’s compositions. To my mind, any reflection of reality is magical and all photography holds its share of magic: that of the “double”: the magic of presence in absence, conferring a new presence to the reality represented, now absent. This is why photography is recognized as an art when it affords the singular, magical charm of the supernatural.
But here is Michel Kirch working a new kind of magic, with the meeting of two realities that do not communicate with one another. “Transreality”, which links two realities to enable a new reality to emerge, is a term that suits his work well because it also contains the idea of surpassing, of going beyond. Hegel’s “meta reality” could apply perhaps as well to Michel Kirch’s art, in the sense that the surpassing conserves that which is surpassed, while creating a new reality.
It is because I am sensitive to all that surpasses while conserving that which does not –expressing the notion of metamorphosis– that I am touched by Michel Kirch’s compositions. It is also because I am sensitive to all that can awaken our dormant poetic sense that I marvel at his work. I might add that I am moved to the very depths of my subconscious.
Thus, in passing from one “ Climates” composition to the other, I am borne away by a wave of emotions, as if by a symphony. Here the leitmotif of water ebbs and flows in all its shapes and forms: life-giving waters, nourishing water, fatal waters, vast stretches of sea, impetuous waves, still waters, eddies of water, floodwater, drowning water, each punctuated by a virtually lost, tiny human presence, or strange architectural vestiges, seemingly deserted by man.
It is to be noted that humanity is always present in this work, whether in the shape of individuals or architecture reflecting the successive ages of the history of civilization.
Everything in this visionary art is at once familiar and alien, and each image provides material for dreaming, thinking, meditating.
“Climates” is only a part of Michel Kirch’s search, but, like a dot of a hologram, or a single cell containing an organism’s entire genetic pool, one finds encapsulated here, in a subliminal state, the whole of his permanent questioning, devoted to his own awakening and to ours.
The work of Michel Kirch fosters meditation on the mystery of the human condition and the insertion of man in the universe.