CLARK & POUGNAUD
CLARK & POUGNAUD
Fresson Print, Unique
Part of a series of 16 single-edition photographs
Signed and dated at recto
Print size: 46.5 x 58 cm (18.3 x 22.8 in) - margin included
Provenance: Artists’ studio (France)
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Clark and Pougnaud are a French artistic duo, working as photographer and painter respectively. Clark grew up in an environment surrounded by photography. He was also his father’s assistant before opening his own studio in the 1980s. Pougnaud, coming from a family of artists, has been in the art world since early childhood. They formed their duo in the 1990s: Pougnaud imagines miniature stage sets, creates them, and paints the decor while Clark photographs them. Characters are photographed separately and then inserted in the decor. Their work demonstrates a singular interdisciplinarity comprised of painting, studio models, and photographs. Their work is resolutely contemporary in the technique used, the choice of characters, the solid blocks of color, and the strong sense of staging. Their approach also elaborately weaves pictorial references of the twentieth century, such as Edward Hopper, René Magritte, and surrealist motifs. In 2000, Clark and Pougnaud were awarded the Arcimboldo prize for digital art, followed by an exhibition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, and then in 2006, the HSBC award for Photography.
Storyville was the prostitution district of New Orleans. The film by Louis Malle, entitled "La petite", starring Brooke Shield, depicts the lives of women in the brothels of Storyville at the turn of the 20th century. When they discovered the photos of James Bellocq, taken at that time in these same brothels, Clark and Pougnaud were immediately attracted by the representation he had made of the prostitutes, depicted not as objects of desire, but as ordinary women, photographed while having a rest. Their bodies are neither hidden nor they are shown. They seem "released". Each and everyone of these woman, who use their bodies as a commodity, behave in front of Bellocq's camera, with a naturalness made possible only thanks to the relationship they have to body and nudity. Clark and Pougnaud thus decided to explore the themes of intimacy and nudity to stay true to Bellocq’s work. The photo called "Storyville" is part of the "Intimacy" series started in 2003. The nude is a sensitive subject. Clark and Pougnaud are used to hiding in order to reveal better, which can sometimes be confusing for the viewer.
They talk about nudity and yet they hardly show anything.
It is Pierre FRESSON, one of the inventor's, who in 1952, executed the first print in direct charcoal colour (without transfer). The enlargement described previously is the same but a previous technique of colour separation in black and white negative enables the pigmentary print to be made. From an original negative, or slide, the subtractive analysis of the first three colours is made by contact on a plan-film panchromatic black and white. These negatives are used directly and successively for the exposure by enlargement of each pigmentary emulsion. On a paper of cartoline type, without barite and without shrinking, emulsified in cyan pigment, sensitised and dried, the first primary coat is made by enlargement corresponding to the negative image of selection operated under red filter. After the development of the first primary coat, the paper is dried, then emulsified in yellow, then sensitised and exposed by enlargement with the negative done under the blue filter. This yellow monochrome superimposed on cyan is developed. The print is emulsified with the last primary pigment magenta, sensitised and enlarged with the negative made under the green filter. The pigmentary emulsion is treated, and at this time, the three primary colours are put down on the support, operating the total synthesis of the colours by subtractive selection (cyan, yellow and magenta matching together in infinitely variable proportions, building up the unity of the visible colours).