in the Category: art

Photography allows me to enter another world

Together with New Master and Brussels-based artist Maria Baoli, we visited the exhibition PHOTO | BRUT #2 - Collection Bruno Decharme at Botanique. The exhibition is part of the program PHOTO BRUT BXL, gathering four Brussels institutions. From her photographic point of view, we took a look at the collected works of outsider art. It became a voyeuristic and tactile walk along collages and snap-shots. Throughout the conversation about this expo, Baoli's personal work unfolded as an alternative reality, as an intimate moment between two people, as a multilayered, though playful, dialogue to better understand the world and herself.

Interview by Senne Vanderschelden
Photos shot by Sepideh Farvardin

How would you describe yourself and your work?

As someone who is very curious and always eager to learn about new cultures, my work is like a ground where I can enter other realities, fictional or non-fictional related. I am interested in creating these realities and entering other realities to which I sometimes do not have access. Photography allows me to enter another world. The camera is a playful tool to better understand this world, including myself. There is a collaboration between the photographer and the one being captured; it is about sharing that particular moment with someone.

The camera is a playful tool to better understand this world, including myself

How would you summarize the expo we just visited? 

The exhibition is very eclectic. It shows a lot in terms of questioning, breaking codes and various techniques. It shows that photography is a layered medium that goes beyond the image. The way the different artists break the codes within the expo is very unconventional. Moreover, the fact that you can feel that the works are not made with a commercial purpose is relieving.

The way the different artists break the codes within the expo is very unconventional

The works here were mostly unconventional and centred around the theme of Photo Brut, how do you relate to this idea?

Photo Brut exudes a certain freedom that I really appreciate, there are no limits. Neither does it follow the aesthetics, nor the perfection, of an artist's gaze. It goes beyond the mental representation we are used to. In digital times, these works generate a very tactile experience. As a spectator, you should really take the time to look at the work in order to better understand what the image has to offer you.

Photo Brut exudes a certain freedom that I really appreciate, there are no limits

Can you relate your work to the exhibition?

Especially in the collages, I did feel a connection to my work. I love working with these kinds of correspondences and trying to add multiple meanings to something that already exists. On the other hand, the artists in this exhibition work almost exclusively with external images. That makes the link to my work more difficult: I am always the author of my photographs. In this exhibition, we are talking more about photographers without a camera. 

The exhibition tries to give a renewed perspective on the medium of photography, do you feel this idea?

I have been amazed by the way they make the ordinary seem unfamiliar and how they manage to capture everyday life in a unique way. Photography can offer more layers than other mediums, even though photography has not been considered art for so long. 


Do you feel that the medium of photography has taken on a sculptural quality in recent years?

I sometimes feel quite frustrated by the two-dimensional aspect of photography, so I want to explore the sculptural possibilities more. Currently, I am exploring this with different types of paper and adding different materials to the photographs. This brings them closer to paintings, the sculptural quality is the next step.

What work at the exhibition caught your attention?

I was intrigued by Mettraux's collages. They are humoristic and break the codes of the perfect Hollywood portraits. It raises more questions than answers, which for me is the main purpose of art. This is also very present in the work of Miroslav Tichý, who made voyeuristic pictures. They are very mysterious, but at the same time have a very own personal universe. 


Where can we visit your work? 

We have to wait until the end of next year when I will exhibit outdoors in Saint-Gilles. It is the second part of my project The Mirror, which focuses on young people from broken families and teenage mothers. Besides that, I am working on a more intimate project, called Stalaktos

PHOTO | BRUT #2 Collection Bruno Decharme
Until 19 March 2023 - Brussels, Botanique

As a Subbacultcha member, you can
visit Photo Brut #1 at CENTRALE for free
visit Photo Brut #2 at Botanique for free

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