The work of artist duo F&D Cartier combines the talent and vision of sculptor Francoise and photographer Daniel Cartier. The two began working in collaboration in 1995 and began exhibiting as F&D Cartier in 1998. The exhibition ROSES features a body of photograms, produced with a “camera-less” photographic process through which F&D Cartier created a body of images by placing contemporary objects onto photographic light sensitive paper and exposing the set up in natural light. The vintage process yields a photographic record of the chemical process, the kind of image evocative of an X-ray. With the rise of digital photography in Contemporary art and media, photographic fundamentalism and an interest in returning back to the essence of photography and its alternative processes has surged through the Cartier’s practice.
Produced with conceptual vision and antique process, the images in this series from ROSES depicts the floating figure of a bra illuminated against a rose pink background. Critic Karl Edward Johnson notes in an article titled “In the Pink” reflecting on the Cartier’s book entitled ROSES, the color pink holds “a reputation for evoking common and uncommon subject matter: frivolity, sexuality, toys, effeminacy, human organs, meat, flowers, bouts of bad taste, and more. Except perhaps for blue, no other color has ever been used or abused to quite the same extent in order to interpret or misinterpret beauty.” F&D Cartier work attempts to examine and expose the allusive qualities of these contemporary connotations.
In this exhibition, the photograms reveal themselves as dream like concoctions shifting between the discrepancy between existence and appearance. With suggestions of erotic gesture and femininity, the images oscillate between objective mundanity and fragile fantasy. Furthermore, within the intimate sphere of lingerie and in an industry of images that reduce women to objects of sexual desire, the Cartier’s images expose visual allusion and allow the photograms to emphasize the absence of that which they thought to hide.
With the silhouette of a each garment fading in and out its transparent halo, these provocative photograms combine clinical objectivity with poetic slightness. Unafflicted with capturing minutia or momentary flight through images, the Cartier’s, rather, are interested in providing both the essence and allusion of their displays.