Enter 14: Léonard Pongo – Primordial Earth
Photos rarely do justice to the atmosphere of a landscape. A cropped surface cannot possibly match the mystical and unspoiled reality. Conscious of the limits of photography, Léonard Pongo seeks other ways of giving form to the superhuman force of the Earth. For him, letting go, getting lost and subordination are the only means of becoming part of the environment, and it is from this angle that he sets to work in the Congolese landscape. In Primordial Earth he lets nature speak, without trying to translate. From the traditions and cosmologies of the Kasai region, he introduces us to a world in which humankind is not the protagonist, but a character, secondary to plants and animals.
With his atypical framing, Léonard Pongo shows no ambition to capture nature, but instead gives us the impression that we are standing in the middle of it and can only perceive a fragment of a larger whole. The layers and reflections that slowly slide over each other unfold into a lively and immeasurable likeness that is more of an impression than a reproduction. The materials chosen by the artist also emphasise the tactility of the earth and the rivers, sometimes robust and granular, sometimes liquid and shiny. Indeed, as a photographer, Léonard Pongo does not limit himself to the classic print on the wall, but experiments with texture, transparency and movement, hinting at an overwhelming and constantly changing nature.