Samuel Rousseau’s video installation L'Arbre et son Ombre (The Tree and Its Shadow), celebrates the permanent renewal of nature, the strength and fragility of trees and the eternal return of vegetation. A work of real technical prowess, the composition combines the trunk of a chestnut tree with video. While the tree, deprived of sap, branches and leaves, takes pride of place in the room, only 13 minutes (the duration of the video loop) are needed for the surprised, even baffled, visitor to relive the cycle of the seasons. Designed with the utmost attention to detail, the branches and leaves are projected like cast shadows on the wall, gradually dressing the bare bark. From sprouting to autumnal fall, this “digital” foliage gives the tree back its life, making it immortal and fascinating to the visitor.
A native of Marseilles now settled in Grenoble, the artist is proud to have escaped all categorisation. Fascinated by science and an expert in computer programming, he devises works which are both humorous and poetic. If the discarded object, scrap, is at the centre of his work, it is there as a medium for overall examination of our society and its methods of consumption, and also, one step further of the fragility of the individual, of malaise. Town-planning, architecture and popular culture are recurring subjects: “I am interested in people’s souls, which is why, more and more, I use poetry and humour. Poetry transcends and humour enables serious social questions to be posed” (Excerpt from an interview with Elisa Fedeli, 2011). The extreme complexity—as much conceptual as technical—with which his works are designed is cunningly concealed, with only a sure lightness of touch apparent to further an artistic encounter.