Michel Mazzoni - Other things visible


28/02/2019 - 14/04/2019

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Michel Mazzoni is a visual artist who uses the medium of photography and explores its essence. He seeks out and reflects on the limits of the image, a fragmentary aesthetic that blurs the figurative referent and reveals the materiality of the images, setting his work on the cusp between the figurative and the abstract.

Feeling that the photograph is not a medium destined to take account of the real or to offer a faithful representation of it, he steps back from this concrete perspective to produce “objects” that blur our fixed view. His work is based on the image as a motif, but one that tends to disappear. For him, the accidental is the fruit of technical work and semantic reflection. Michel Mazzoni proceeds by subtraction and by standing back, the images become more intriguing, leaving the viewer to contemplate their meaning, their content and their relationships.

At the moment the images are created, there is no defined operating method. It starts from simple things, serendipitous encounters. A way of seizing ordinariness to transform it into a poetic, conceptual universe. Diverting the images from their uses to blur their reading. I would say that my approach is both timeless and out of time: the places that I photograph are not truly defined and could be from indeterminate eras. Generally they are fragmentary views, images “without qualities”, drawn from the quotidian with the tiniest of hints. These places are there, quite real, but the way I handle them creates this complex, abstract distance. What I seek to show is the forces that gather there and the thoughts that they evoke in the viewer. Pointing at spaces, places, objects where this “attaches”, a visual presence which is strong but explains nothing. The images which hold the attention are those which require the viewer to stop, to look and to reflect, to question what they are looking at and the process of the creation of the work.

On the formal level, it is an attempt to exhaust and deplete the medium through alternative, experimental processes: manipulations of light, chemistry, optics (at the source, on the negative), or directly on the image in post processing (scans and multiple prints, grids, inversions, curves, etc.). Michel Mazzoni

In his installations, his scenographies, the choice and order of images is based on his own criteria, not communicated to the viewer so that viewers themselves can create a pathway, meeting points, distances, even a narrative. His on-site installations develop sensory shortcuts, tensions that affect the gaze, reflexive experiences the meanings of which remain unresolved.

Among the means of distribution, he is also fond of publishing books where the relationship between figure and ground is meticulously curated. The spatial arrangement of the works operates on the same principle, with images which resonate or sit in counterpoint with a sense of rhythm that takes account of the exhibition space. Confrontation, rapprochement, scale, space, the printing technique and the form of presentation are an integral part of the global perception of his oeuvre.

A 128-page publication is coming out to accompany this exhibition: Michel Mazzoni, Other Things Visible, co-production between Le Botanique and MER. Paper Kunsthalle.

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