Jan Groover

Janet Borden, Inc.

In the background of each photograph in Jan Groover’s “Le Chantier” (Roadwork) series is a brief swath of La France—mildly rolling fields and woods running away to the horizon, compact with scent and air and distinctly Gallic. Certainly the study of agronomy, climate, land use and ownership, history, and more would go a way toward explaining the particularity of these tracts of land, telling just why the images speak so clearly of a warm day in rural northern Europe, but no scholarship is necessary to read that code. At the same time, their Frenchness is discreet: this is a place without landmarks or sights, both lovely and nothing special. There are miles of this countryside. The sister town of some place in Ohio might be just over the hill.

In the foreground of each picture, and much more prominent, is a kind of wound, the skin of foliage peeled back to reveal bare earth, ample and raw.

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 1998 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.