Skip to content
At the Rencontres d’Arles, the visual poems of Katrien de Blauwer
 |  Latest News Headlines

At the Rencontres d’Arles, the visual poems of Katrien de Blauwer

Katrien de Blauwer was born in Ronse, in the Belgian Ardennes, in 1969. In Ghent, she studied painting and, in Antwerp, fashion, studies which she abandoned each time. Then she found the mode of expression that she needed and remained attached to it: it was collage, not photography, although she was exhibited this year in Arles as part of the Rencontres. But the collage in a particular way which clearly distinguishes itself from the known uses of this art which is more than a century old. His compositions obtained by cutting and assembling images do not designate objects by metonymies and allusions, like cubist papiers collés, and do not play with incongruity and the absurd like surrealist collages.

Sometimes juxtapositions can suggest ironic allusions

His are much more refined and of reduced dimensions. Usually there are only one or two rectangles taken from black and white photographs taken from magazines of the 1960s or 1970s. more rarely, of uniform color. Juxtaposed is the important word because Katrien de Blauwer does not try to slip one image into another. She adjusts edge to edge, two foreign surfaces to each other, the edges being cut more or less straight. Sometimes she enhances the composition with lines drawn in pastel or splashes of paint. We can therefore say that she has found a new way of collage, characterized by its appearance of simplicity and its geometry of parallels and right angles.

This way of working, Katrien de Blauwer applies it to images of a certain genre: almost exclusively, with the exception of fragments of uncharacteristic landscapes, to photographs of naked or clothed bodies. We suppose that she takes them either in fashion images – in a fashion that today seems quite outdated – or in more or less sentimental or erotic film photograms, or even in reports on the enchanted lives of stars. .

Incomplete clues

Thus she supplies herself with shoulders, knees, mouths, backs, breasts, hands and hairstyles held in place by a lacquered perm. It happens that a gesture suggests an action – meeting, hugging or caressing – without it being possible to say more. Sometimes the juxtapositions can suggest ironic allusions. Hands clasped between bare thighs and, above, the vertical mast of a lamp post, for example. Or tragedies. A body cut into two irreparably separated parts or the word end associated with a red-stained bust and head.

You have 30.38% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.