Page 25

Francoise and Daniel Cartier: ROSES

f&d cartier

But one might perhaps ask: why is the photogram returning today?

If one considers the 150-year history of photography from a distance, one discovers that the photogram appears at conspicuous intervals along the time axis. It always plays a role when the medium of photography is compelled to assert itself against other picture media, or when photography itself is in a kind of identity crisis.

And what a selection of objects: bras floating in the air like parachutes, Barbie outfits hung out as if to dry, panty puzzles, minimalist displays of handkerchiefs or valuable looking costume jewellery. Fine materials and beautiful flowers like those used by Talbot, then a skeleton puppet and x-ray pictures, or a series of hair curls. Everything is suffused in pink light, more or less transparent, with a glowing aura. A trail left behind on paper, almost palpable prints, which fade slowly like after images behind closed eyes. The Cartiers are not concerned with true to life detail but rather with allusions to meaning behind the things; with the aura of the day-to-day but also the discrepancy between existence and appearance, with the perception we have of ourselves vis-a-vis the one prescribed by fashion models and consumption. With subjects like the body and eroticism, transparency and the veil, presence and absence, life and death - all seen through the ironic, pink-colored glasses of their photograms: pictures as windows and mirrors.

Martin Gasser
Conservator, Swiss Foundation for Photography, Winterthur

The Photogram in the Work of
Franqoise and Daniel Cartier
Point of encounter - point of departure

Mixing puns with cinematographic asides, the series Gown with the wind (2005-2006) is the most recent. It adopts large formats in a single presentation. By its subject, it recalls the suspended dolls of Someday..., but this time the clothes belong to Frangoise Cartier - passed down gowns, disguises, creations of her own hands, all worn one day or another but long since deposited in some trunk - which the Cartiers have transferred to paper by impressing, like a sigh, a slight movement on the fabrics. Despite the liveliness of the folds and the careless festivity of the items, the images invite the viewer to mediate on the passing of all things: the loss of loved beings who leave behind only the pale resemblances of their presence, multiple identities that one has abandoned en route like old rags.

Sylvie Henguely
Swiss Foundation for Photography, Winterthur