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Pinhole Camera:
"The Women's WIng/L'aile des femmes"

30 photographs on hand-coated paper in various sizes.

A pinhole camera study of an abandoned mental asylum for women, dating from the 18th to the 20th c. in St.Lizier, France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Supported by the Conseil Général of Ariège, and Intervalle Art Contemporain. 2005.

"Les boîtes à sténopé ajoutent aux sujets une dimension quasi onirique, un halo d'irréalité dont l'effet semble énoncer à la fois la distance temporelle qui sépare l'actualité et le temps où  le  bâtiment abritait des femmes, et cet écran qui sépare (peut-être) l'interieur  mental du fou et le monde exterieur, par définition non fou.

La technique est ici directement liée au  rendu esthétique et, à travers ce qui peut apparaître comme une métaphore picturale de la folie, à sa signification humaine." —Emmanuelle Garnier (St-Lizier, 2005)

"The pinhole camera confers to its subject a dreamlike quality, an aura of unreality, as if to convey the temporal gap which separates the moment of the picture and the time when women were inhabiting the building, as well as a screen which separates (perhaps)  the inner self of the madwomen from the outside world, which is, by definition, not mad.

The aesthetic rendering of the technique may thus appear as a pictorial metaphor of madness, hence giving it human meaning."
(translation by Muriel Adrien)

During the weeks of work alone in the building, with long periods of time waiting for the exposures to be made, sometimes many hours for one exposure, the atmosphere disturbed only by an errant bird or bat, I began to sense the great effort of life there; the effort of the patients in their daily struggle with the self, the effort of the people working there, the effort of subsistence, of care, of managing, of maintaining dignity. Then a sudden burst of sunlight would break through, casting long pools of light on the floor and reflecting up onto the arched ceiling. One almost wept with gratitude for these moments. And thus must it have been then, too.
Excerpt from the artist's exhibition statement.

This exhibition is available from the photographer, Rachel Brown, brown.dejean@numericable.fr



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Copyright © Rachel Brown