Cathédrales hermétiques is the follow up to Cathédrales, and consists of a series that was born from the same starting point: a book published in the 1950s by the ministry of tourism to promote spiritual architecture in France. Moving away from the facades, Aëgerter selected three interiors over the scope of ten centuries to explore the different architectural modes of provoking a spiritual experience.
In this body of work, Aëgerter silkscreened three photographs of a Romanesque church (Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire, 10th century), a Gothic church (Coutances, 12th century) and a modern church (Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc, Nice, 20th century) with a black layer of ink reactive to the heat of the sun. Later she included in this series the three Provençal sisters of Ciestercian architecture: Sénanque, Silvacane and Le Thoronet, whose architectural design echoed her meditative quest.
In contrast to Cathédrales, these church interiors begin in darkness and are slowly revealed when exposed to sunlight, like photography in a darkroom; a cycle that takes about an hour.
Through this juxtaposition of eras, Laurence Aëgerter pays tribute to the monumentality of these works of art. She shifts the history of architecture but also that of the photographic technique. Yesterday’s immutability meets today’s fleetingness. Laurence Aëgerter herself says that she builds “small monuments to Time”. But with this imperceptible temporal experience, she creates and invites us to a temple of meditation and contemplation.
Fannie Escoulen, independent curator