Véronique Rolland is an artist whose work in still and moving image centres on our relationship with nature and the environment. Her work has been widely exhibited and acquired by major international collections including the National Portrait Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and Pompidou Centre, Paris.
Rolland began her career as a portrait photographer, undertaking editorial assignments for titles including the Sunday Times Magazine, the Guardian and the Independent, moving towards fine art projects in the early 2000s. Often creating photographs in series, she revisits places over a period of time, immersing herself and her sitters in the landscape in order to express the transience of the human condition through the cycle of the seasons. Her images carry an ecological message, expressing both nature’s fragility and its possession of a constancy beyond our comprehension. Through her observation of landscape and the human form, Rolland engages with the quasi-mystical, the Sublime, and the Romantic, reminding us that the natural world we take for granted is under threat.
Her urge to bear witness to specific places leads her to create records in a variety of media, including photographs, videos, samples and sound recordings. She has published two critically acclaimed limited-edition books: 6 (2011) and 54°0′13.176″N 2°32′52.278″W (2017), and she is the recipient of The Arts Foundation Fellowship in Portraiture.
Rolland’s photographic prints and limited-edition books are widely collected by private individuals and public institutions. Her work is housed in the permanent collections of prestigious museums and galleries including: National Portrait Gallery, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Artists’ Books Collection, V&A National Art Library, London; and Kandinsky Library, Pompidou Centre, Paris.
FIELDWORK Q&A – November 2015
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
Fieldwork is an integral part of my practice. I am drawn to locations of particular significance at a specific moment that I revisit over time. The notions of transience and the ephemeral are central to my work, through my fieldwork I create archives gathering data though photography, video, sample collection, sound recording, etc, as an attempt to preserving them.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
My fieldwork activity starts in the studio. I research extensively the location I am interested in though its literature, geology, fauna, flora, history etc. When the time comes I set off with a very clear idea of what I am hoping to do, but the long walk to the destination and the exposure to the elements invariably inspire me to also explore other ideas when I get to the location. I am fascinated by the contrast of the quasi-scientific aspect of the survey I conduct on the site with my actual quasi-mystical experience of the space. I am trying to resolve this duality through my practice.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
I share my fieldwork through exhibitions, publications and conferences. I am very exited about artists interested in the Land, as it will enrich the debate about geographical issues.
Memories of an Unknown Island