Monday, August 24, 2015

The Photograph as Abstract

“Life seems very stale without art.”
Fabien Charuau

The 41 year old French born photographer/visual artist Fabien Charuau adopted India as his home in the final years of the 20th Century. And as he told earlier this year “Don’t go by the color of my skin, I’m very Indian.”

Charuau came to India as a mechanical engineer, morphed into a fashion and advertising photographer and most recently transitioned into a visual artist under the influence of his muse, the city of Mumbai.

“I love the city. I can’t function outside or live elsewhere. It is part of me. I have never been in the same place for so long. The man and the artist that I am, was formed by this city, the way I live, the people I meet, and it’s architecture,” he says.

His transition from photographer to visual artist began at the start of the current decade and first saw light of day with his 2011 exhibition Send Some Candids.

As he explained to Send Some Candids was a turning point in my practice. I stopped doing street photography, and taking photographs without the consent of my subject. Also, I didn’t see the point of creating new photographs any more. Photographers are redundant, because so many photographs are being created every day. The way we use and understand images has changed—the image is disconnected from the photographer. It’s the era of the omnipotent digital photograph.

Building upon this Charuau’s transition has become complete as his latest works indicate with their pure abstraction. An achievement he reached by applying a computer algorithm that processes the relationship between pixels to his found images that populate his current exhibition A Thousand Kisses Deep.

“All the photos looked the same—of couples kissing. It was sweet, but had nothing interesting to single out. So, I started looking at the photos as information… My way of doing this was completely jugaad (an innovative fix). I had no control over the outcome. All I knew was that the energy of the pixels was different in different photographs,” he explained.

A Thousand Kisses Deep is currently on show at Mumbai’s Chatterjee & Lal gallery until the 26th of September.

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