Diane Gougeon’s work uses technology to create experiences that push the limits of the exhibition space in perceptual, optical or sensory ways. Through devices that allow the spectator to pause for a moment, she questions our way of being present in the world, and especially, the ambivalent rapport that the use of technologies introduces into our understanding and representation of nature.

The artist observes the impacts of human intervention on landscapes, territories and ecosystems, notably through artworks that use iconographic elements drawn from the natural world or works that even recreate nature’s manifestations (ice, rainbows, etc.). This use of materials is placed in tension with a sort of reverence for nature’s capacity to regenerate itself; extracting natural elements from their original contexts is always achieved by making sure not to force these elements into forms that aren’t intrinsic to them. Nevertheless, the artist is interested in patterns and textures of natural elements, that, while contributing to a formal vocabulary, possess the potential to induce in the spectator a haptic, optical or kinesthetic reaction.

Diane Gougeon’s work most often takes shape in situ and in response to specific conditions of the spaces invested, and it makes use of exhibition spaces as well as places that aren’t traditionally intended for art, such as public buildings, offices and gardens. In their conceptual aspect as much as in their display mechanisms, Gougeon’s installations also question the dichotomy between indoor and outdoor spaces. If, on one hand, her works are at times located in sites where nature and humans cohabit, her gallery presentations demonstrate a will to bring about a moment déterminé, where technologically mediated nature opens a window into a different space-time that’s neither here nor completely elsewhere. This is conducive to achieving a “qualitatively different” experience, to use the artist’s words, where the spectator occupies a central place.

Marie-Pier Bocquet