Catherine de Blauer’s photo

People who don’t know the work of Belgian Catherine de Blauer will surely be fascinated by the title of this exhibition at the Espace Croisière in Arles. Pictures that don’t show anyone. What pronoun are you referring to in this title? What could be the nature of the pictures that do not appear to anyone? Why this contradiction in debunking the clichés and publishing a book about them while saying that they should not be presented to anyone? These questions raised by this contradictory title constitute many of the clues given by the artist which must be kept in mind when visiting the exhibition because the visitor will not be able to rely on any cartel to determine the characters on display or the places or dates of the shots. And for good reason: What the artist shows us are not, strictly speaking, photographs, but collages produced over the past 10 years from photographs taken from old black-and-white women’s magazines from the 1920s to 1960s that she cut, reframed, pasted, and assembled . , manipulated or paired. Catherine de Blauer is indeed a photographer without a camera. But what it produces is very far from the history of collage in modern art that is characterized by cubism, dadaism, or surrealism because it is not a matter of reconfiguring, as well as complete images, but, on the contrary, by cutting and subtracting, arriving at a minimum of elements that make the image irrelevant. ranked and acquires a unique position.
Small formats lean towards abstraction
Naked calves walking on what might be beach sand, bust of a woman turned slightly to the side to reveal breasts, upper body of another woman flying forcefully toward a clear sky, earlobes surrounded by copious hair than should be the right part of a female’s face, forehead line Thick, curly hair, with no visible eyes, is topped by the lower face of a woman with thick hair, sloping from the nape of the neck.

Scattered, erotic bodies embody eroticism that emphasizes the mystery of desire
By carving out characters’ bodies and faces, depriving us of their looks, extracting decontextualized elements from old photographs she emphasizes them with monochromatic strips of paper in sepia tones, flat swathes of red paint or additions of color traces. With his minimalist approach, he highlights in these very small graphic formats the voids, gaps, and withdrawals that reinforce the strength of these visuals leaning toward abstraction. The cutting force reveals an undeniable cinematic effect that summons the visible universe of the new wave into the image space itself. Thus, the elements associated with them establish dialogues among themselves, weave silences, anticipate expectations, emphasize disappearances, announce ruptures, and preform movements. This set reveals an intriguing third-person world that is made of intimacy and anonymity and full of mystery. It is a life in the making with its strength, its violence, its weakness, its disappointments, its feelings, its shame that captures our eyes. The female character is often at the center of constructing these images, but the female characters present are still fleeting, elusive, and suspended. Their fragmented bodies, which continue off screen due to the clippings, are imbued with excitement, exuding some eroticism and underlining the vagueness of desire. All this reminds us of the heroines of Marguerite Duras.
We easily imagine the visual artist regularly browsing flea markets, flea markets, and garage sales in search of prized magazines or dull paper to complete her collection. We believe that upon returning to her workbench, she carefully analyzed her loot before cropping and cutting the images into wide shots or close-ups without following her shapes in a quick gesture that assumes no hesitation. She then plays, according to her feelings, with these anonymous images to see how these recycled materials can weave unexpected bonds between them and respond to each other thanks to editing that recreates a context.

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