Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dolorès Marat at Flair Gallerie, Arles

Harvey Benge - Dolorès Marat, Paris 1996 from Not Here. Not There

My first meeting with Dolores Marat followed my discovery in 1995 of her published work at Marval Editions in Paris. Marval had made a book of Dolorès work and I was keen to meet her, this took place via the translation skills of my now oldest Parisian friend, writer and director Simon Guibert. Dolorès spoke no English but her pictures said plenty.
I'd been talking to Marval about them doing my book Not Here. Not There. They were keen but subsequently went under and the book was then published in 1998 by UK publisher Dewi Lewis. In the book is a picture I made of Dolorès in a very strange American Western restaurant at Place d'Italie. Dolorès sits in front of a Western desert mural and bizarrely is wearing a sheriffs star brooch which in my view makes the photograph.

I haven't seen Dolorès for a number of years but was delighted to discover that she is still shooting and has a show currently at Flair Gallerie in Arles. They say this:

In Dolorès Marat’s work, a cat is not necessarily a cat, a woman may very well be a crocodile, a spider or a fly, and a burning can turn into a dog. As suggested by one of her books, entitled Illusion, Dolorès Marat has a penchant for side roads. She might be taking pictures of reality, but what we see in her images seems not quite real. An instinctive photographer, she knows no bounds, setting no rules for herself, she lets her impressions be her guide. And thus, the images that have marked out her path for three decades constitute by consequence, in a certain manner, the sum of her emotions, aroused at random during her journeys or in her daily life.
Because Dolores Marat is first and foremost a gleaner. She never sets out with the purpose of taking pictures but at the same time, her camera is always with her. Photographs present and impose themselves on her and encourage her to… release the shutter. “Something is beautiful, therefore I photograph,” is her simplest explanation.

An added bonus to Dolorès work is her use of the Fresson process to make her prints. Having discovered the Fresson printing process Dolores Marat knew that the Fresson look well suited her pictorial voice. The technique was invented in the 19th century for pictorialist photographers and adapted to color printing in the mid-20th century. From her first signed print in 1983, she has been faithful to a process which renders a velvety softness that loses the spectator somewhere between photography and painting.

Below is a Fresson print that Dolorès gave me, The Man and the Tele, Paris. I like the registration marks that are specific to this unique process.

Dolorès Marat - The Man and the Tele, Paris

And images from the show at Flair Gallerie

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