Nathalie Boutté: Way Down South

29 February - 31 July 2020

Contemporary artistic creation is not only concept and protocol. Some artists also draw their energy from the gesture and the work on the material. Nathalie Boutté prefers taking her time rather than the extreme immediacy of a creative act.

The artist is interested in ancient photographs, and especially in anonymous portraits. She reinvents the images of the past by thoroughly assembling paper strips one by one, to recreate the portraits. For her first solo show in France, Nathalie Boutté revisits the portraits of African-Americans from the photographic fund of Rufus W. Holsinger, a photographer that settled in Virginia in the USA in 1880.

Her work cannot be dissociated from collage and photography and is situated in between these two media, between the creation and the fixation of the image. By looking closer, the eye gets lost in the intertwining of letters. The reconstituted image reveals itself gradually by stepping back from the work, while the eye gets familiar with the collage.

She documents a period of time and plays with temporality; the past is a constant source of inspiration. Projected in our reality, the works assembled here can be a counter tale to the historical reality of segregation. In front of the objective of Rufus W. Holsinger, black and white people are equal. Under the fingers of Nathalie Boutté, their skin colour is no longer a constitutive element of their social position. Only their gaze and their presence among the feathering of paper strips dominate.