The devil is in the detail
If you’ve ever found yourself hurriedly screenshotting a particularly appealing scene
mid-way through a film, chances are you’ll instinctively relate to the photographic work of Mathilde Karrèr. Although her staged still life photos, if we may call them as such, have a film-like quality to them, they owe more to those moments that reside in the in between than to any kind of storyline or underlying narrative.
For those willing to step momentarily outside the comforting confines of chronological, Newtonian time, Mathilde's work rewards the viewer with a treasure trove of subtle curated details and references to both avant-garde and pop culture. In her commercial work and personal photographic projects, references from contemporary life - often in the form of luxury items - are depicted in scenarios which seem to have been plucked from logical, linear chronological time and transposed into some kind of pseudo-glamorous limbo.
Teetering precariously on the border between elegance and kitsch, it’s within this limbo that references such as 17th Century Dutch still life painting, early surrealist photography and 1970s Giallo cinema coexist in surprising natural harmony. The resulting dream-like compositions exude an air of the fantastic, the extraordinary, the supra-realistic.
One of the recurring motifs in Mathilde's spectrum of work is the presence of flowers. Through the lens of Karrèr’s camera, the transient beauty of these charming horticultural subjects is eternalised. Plucked from the source of life, they remain in Mathilde's extraordinary universe. In these liminal states, her subjects are treated to a glorious process of deification; their semi-religious qualities enshrined by a menagerie of cleverly manipulated lighting effects. In this way, she once again references the still life and renaissance masters.
Emulating glamorous advertising from yesteryear, yet liberated from the constraints of any one particular decade, genre or style; Mathilde's dreamy, enchanting atmospheres appear timeless in the true sense of the word: unaffected by the passage of time, and resistant to changes in fashion. This prospect has proven to be something of an enticing one for many of her commercial collaborateurs. With an exquisite attention to detail both with regards to set design and execution, Karrèr’s enchanting liminal world provides a platform upon which any product can become extraordinary.
In an increasingly noisy digital world, Mathilde's still life photography thus serves as a welcome refuge from the endless sea of readily available still and moving images. It is with pleasure that we allow ourselves a moment to get lost in the fantasy of Karrèr’s otherworldly realm, perhaps picking up on those small yet significant details which, more often than not, often remain unseen.
Represented by Zeynep Represents (Paris)
Bonanza Coffee Roasters
Mirror Mirror Magazine
Sunday Times Style Magazine
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