Gabrielle de Montmollin, Bird Women

Gabrielle de Montmollin, Bird Women

Bird Woman is an overview of the most recent work of Gabrielle de Montmollin.

It marks a new step in her work: the images are more sober but still keep the dynamism so typical for her images.

I like to compare these photos to a classical Greek play. First you have the presentation of the characters and then you have the play. In this set of pictures you have the presentation of five mythical actors with masks. The movement of the characters inspire the spectator to make his own play.

The strong figures are dancing a mythical dance which is accentuated by the bird-mask. They are strong images that are like icons.

Now it's waiting for the first act of the play.

On this website we present three different approaches of photographing dolls and mannequins.

I asked Gabrielle de Montmollin her view on the subject:

A form of consciousness

Gabrielle de Montmoullin: In the earliest times humans believed that souls or spirits existed in every object, even if it was inanimate. From this, it was a small jump of intuition to think that if you fashioned a human-like object it could possess the soul of ancestors or beings with supernatural powers who might act on your behalf. The mystical belief in the power of effigies continues to this day. Modern dolls, made of plastic, and manufactured by the millions can cast a similar spell. It is not hard to think that they possess lives of their own and are the repositories of unknown consciousness.

A child playing with a doll also attributes a personality to it. I think many children play with dolls in subversive and perverse ways, they do not limit themselves to what is intended by the manufacturer or the society that produced the object. Store mannequins are meant to display clothes, in a naked state they invite us see them as different beings.

Because I make photographs rather than drawings, the figures which appear in my photographs are physical objects that have existed in time. This is very important. Even if I have taken an object and transformed it so that it represents something I have imagined, the object still has an existence independent of my imagination and the image I make of it. This adds to the power of it, the fact that it is Oreal.¹

In 'The Psychology of Imagination' Sartre describes an image as a form of consciousness whereby something that is absent is nonetheless present to our consciousness. It is the absent something which is nonetheless there that I am looking for when I pose the dolls and click the shutter.

Discover the work by Gabrielle de Montmollin

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