Subsonic Wind Tunnel#4, by Vincent Fournier
With his photograph Subsonic Wind Tunnel#4, French artist Vincent Fournier transports us to an American NASA research centre, between dream and mystery, the legendary location of the space race.
Extending his childhood dreams
Vincent Fournier graduated from the Arles École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in 1997 and also works with other mediums and techniques such as 3D printing, video and life-size installations.
Fascinated by aesthetics and the narrative strength of futuristic stories and scientific and technological utopias, his work explores the representation of the real and the imaginary. A disconcerting duality which arises repeatedly in his work through different oppositions: between reality and fiction, science and faith, past and future, the visible and the invisible, and even the natural and the artificial. His photographic work Subsonic Wind Tunnel#4 (2017) combines reality and simulation.
The photograph Subsonic Wind Tunnel#4 was taken in the United States, in Hampton, Virginia. It depicts part of the wind tunnel at NASA’s Langley research centre.
This centre, built in 1941, is the American agency's oldest experimental site. Wind tunnels help scientists understand the forces acting on objects as they move through the atmosphere. Vincent Fournier's photo bears witness to this research.
The fascinating adventure of space
Subsonic Wind Tunnel#4 is part of the Space project which Vincent Fournier began in 2007. The photographer says that he actively chose to combine historical and documentary perspectives on space exploration with scenes from films.
As such, “The mythical places become cinema settings, where Jacques Tati meets Jules Vernes and Stanley Kubrick: Star City in Russia, the Cape Canaveral launch centres in the United States and Baïkonour in Kazakhstan, the observatories in Chile, etc."
A broadly international project
Around thirty space institutions from all over the world — research centres, observatories, private companies — assisted Vincent Fournier as he photographed the past and future of space exploration between 2007 and 2017.
His Space project has resulted in numerous exhibitions in Europe and the United States. Institutions such as the Manifattura di Arti, Sperimentazione e Tecnologia (MAST) in Bologna (Italy) or the Lea and Napoleon Bullukian Foundation in Lyon (France) have acquired photographs from the series. The image Subsonic Wind Tunnel#4 has, for the time being, only been part of private collections.
Subsonic Wind Tunnel#4 by Vincent Fournier is being presented with the support of the Institut français at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, the largest contemporary photography festival in Australia, which will take place from 20th August to 20th October 2019.