Friday, May 20, 2011

Taking the Road of the Solar Wind, 4; the ruins of Languidou


What is it with a ruin? Perhaps it shows the beauty of the elements of the building in a way that the finished, knit-together structure cannot.  Spaces only partially enclosed require an act of vision to define them which engages the viewer more deeply.  Or perhaps it is the paradox: pillars to support a roof which isn't there, a rose window to pass the light through stained glass but which is open to the changing colours of the sky, arches which stop in air before the arc is achieved or barely even begun.

Or perhaps its the melancholy of them. (Melancholy, I think,  is a sort of default vagueness, a get-out clause, a smothering lack of focus says Edmund de Waal, in The Hare with Amber Eyes, everyone's book of the year, if not the decade, I know, and worthwhile for this line alone, and for the fact that he sticks to that position...)

The funny thing is, one deplores the forces that ruined the chapel of Languidou  - it was broken up for materials just after the Revolution, which is odd, since many other religious buildings in this region escaped this - but if it weren't a ruin it would be less remarkable, one of dozens of quaint old chapels which dot this part of the world.  And the ruin is a piece of artifice, reconstructed, perhaps inaccurately, in the early part of the last century, so far and no further, to create just the romantic impression I've fallen for.

However, though the French wiki link above goes into exhaustive detail about the architectural history of the place, and deciphering inscriptions which might give further clues to this - it has obviously been the subject of much study as well as many photos - I can't seem to find any reference to the beguiling little face under the capital, or indeed the geometric mandala type figure on another capital, or the worn cross in a circle on a threshold stone underfoot,.though they appear in other photos.  So they remain mysterious, to me anyway.  I'm rather glad about that.

8 comments:

marja-leena said...

I love ruins and have often been asked why. I think you gave the answer in the end - their mystery. And for the me, the sense of the past and of time passed. Wonderful photos again, Lucy. Wish I could be there to visit all these places with you as a guide but these serve as a close second best.

Jean said...

'Spaces only partially enclosed require an act of vision to define them which engages the viewer more deeply.': Yes, I think that's partly it for me, along with what Marja-Leena says.

This, and the whole series on your recent trip, is wonderful. Thank you.

Plutarch said...

There is much to be said for and e,about melancholy. The Anatomy of Melancholy is a book I once tried to read and never took up again. I think I am not alone there. Edmund de Waal has it right as he has so much right. Don't you think that the crumbling condition of your subject matter though, contributes a melancholic dimension of its own? The face worn down by time and weather might possibly have seemed more cheerful when newly carved.

Lesley said...

This is wonderful!
(What do you use to do your mosaics Lucy? Mine are never as successful as yours.)

Lucy said...

Thanks.

Turns out it is such a well-photographed site, I was a bit discouraged, but collages often seem to offer new possibilities.

Lesley, I use Picasa collages. They used to be square grids or nothing, now there are all kinds of options - grids, mosaics, frame mosaics, contact sheets, picture piles, multiple exposures, and all at any proportions you want, with whatever spacing you want, with plain backgrounds, with or without shadows, or using an image as background, and you can shift and swap the positions as much as you want and even rearrange them after you've created the collage, so its a quite an embarrassment of choice really, and completely compulsive to keep tinkering around with them endlessly, like doing puzzles for me but with no final right solution...

Donwload Picasa if you haven't already, hit the collage button and get playing!

HLiza said...

Oh I love ruins too..so many questions and mysteries..so many things to appreciate..

Zhoen said...

The stones remember, even if we can no longer understand them to hear their stories.

Lesley said...

Thanks Lucy. Picasa duly downloaded and I'm already a little addicted.