The ancients defined "ecumene" as the inhabited world,as opposed to unhabited lands. It was a way of localising and representing, on the first maps of the earth, the known and the unknown worlds.
Over the centuries, the relationship between those two worlds had constantly to be readjusted. The "terra incognita" receded, and the inhabited world spread outwards from the rivers and the seas. Whole continents were discovered, explored and exploited. The concept of the ecumene was gradually forgotten.
In the 19th and the 20th centuries, the French geographers Vidal de la Blache and, later, Augustin Berque reintroduced the term "ecunmene", making the identification of thoses parts of the earth's surface inhabited by man the central question of human geography. Augustin Berque declared that :"to be is necessarily to be somewhere". He further argued that "To say that the question of being is philosophical, whilst that of being somewhere is geographical, is to drive an abyss through reality which prevents it from ever being properly understood".
The concept of the ecumene came to be whilst photographing a hut at the edge of a forest. That concept is at the origin of the paintings and sculptures on show here. To think of the ecumene in painting is to think in terms of distinctions, frontiers, limits. The materials, colours and surfaces become the place where those differentiations occur. From there I determine how to occupy the space. By extention, the concept can also signify "inhabited" and "unhabited" territories of the inconscious, sleep, poetry; it is a broad concept that opens up perspectives.
Acrylic paint on aluminium c.23 x 12 inches
Also collage of a photograph, brass, sanded alumilium or steel cut white lacquer finish.