Nathalie Boutté

Born in 1967 in Senlis, France.
Lives and works in Montreuil.

Nathalie Boutté created her first paper works after a career in publishing and graphic design. As the material with which she worked every day, paper slowly grew to become her favorite media. Very carefully, she cuts thin strips of paper, using sheets from old books, road maps, bank notes and most often, Japanese paper. It’s on these sheets that she first prints a text that shares the story of the figures in the photographs or of the photographer whom inspired her. She plays with the thickness of the letters and the space between the lines in order to obtain a grayscale that is comparable to that seen in old silver prints. Her work sits at the meeting point between photography and collage; the fixed image of the photo and the creation of its representation.

Her work begins with the photograph, espe­cially daguerreotypes and autochromes, some of the oldest photographic impressions of the fixed image. Nathalie has a passion for these images and their histories. The artist then re­creates these portraits by meticulously assem­bling each paper strip one by one.

The sharp cut, the delicacy of the paper and the layering of strips create voluminous artworks. Up close, the eye gets lost in the geometric abstraction of the letters. As you pull away, the image re-establishes itself as the eye adapts to the collage. The artist evokes in her work his­torical photographers such as Edward Curtis, Malick Sidibé, and Seydou Keïta… and takes an interest in photography as a marker of me­mory. She revives the memory of an era, the memory of figures, and the traces of the past. Fragments of Japanese paper or old books at times replace fragments of photo­graphs marked by the years.