It is in July 2019, that I begin the series TRAVELING PAINTINGS through the streets of Tuléar, in the south of the island of Madagascar.
The idea is to inscribe scenes of life absent from the eyes, inside a monochrome painting.
Starting from the observation that with a background of uniform color the topics we meet take more intensity, I decided to paint tables with a single solid color (orange, red, blue, green, black, yellow) to put worth the subjects photographed. This presentation has the effect of excluding all the rest of the scene. The eye lingers on subjects that we would not have paid attention to. Often drowned in the bustle of a hectic city, many people are invisible to the eye, like small trades. The goal is to let a photographer look on these street workers, in the same way that a painter would, by installing behind them a monochrome painting. Take a shoemaker in activity on a light blue background, it stands out immediately from the urban landscape. Thanks to the monochrome painting, we can see only this busy man, leaning on his work.
In addition, depending on the color of the chosen canvas, we notice that the emotion that emerges from the image is not the same. The red color of the backdrop tends to make the image more intense, an orange instead warms and softens the scene, a blue cools it, the black seems to absorb the subject in the canvas. As on the painter's palette, chemical and aesthetic reactions occur between the plain background and the color values of the photographed subject. The blue dress of a Malagasy who cooks on an apple green background spring beautifully. The photo is more dynamic with this presentation, and our eyes linger there.
Note that this way of isolating the subject in the painting does not mean that the world around him is absent from each photograph. Often the monochrome painting is set around a much sweeter street scene that can be seen in the background. The Malagasy circulate around the painting and sometimes, by the greatest of chances, interact with the photographed subject. In this sense, we obtain three possible readings through the image, first the eye perceives the subject, then the plain background and finally the background, the scene of life that takes place behind the board.
That's why it was important in the series "Ambulant Tables", to take into account both the light and the colors that surround the subject photographed, but also the background atmosphere that surrounds it.
Christian barbé august 2019