I don’t want to disappear completely
Blurring the lines between cynicism, minimalism and intimacy, Berangere Fromont has built an emotive catalogue of works, rich in poetic annotation and layered with a personal storytelling ability that allow viewers to feel at times as if they are simply re-familiarising themselves with subjects they have always known. Between orchestrated, sporadic and demonstrational approaches, her arguably European aesthetic has earned her acclaim within her native country of France, and far beyond. With titles such as I Don’t Want to Disappear Completely, aEther & Cosmos, the scene is set for the altogether ruminative and sharp approach that she has become well known for, merging the power of nature, familiarity and wonder in text and in image. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she is proficient, daring, unafraid to experiment beyond the title of genre or to implement inspiration beyond photos. “I studied both Cinema and Literature; I have been pursuing the same obsession since adolescence… eventually I became passionate about the works of Italian Filmmaker and Poet, Pasolini and his quest for purity. My photographic work has been part of this quest in a more or less conscious way for a long time”, says Fromont herself.
Her almost directorial pursuit for control is clear in series’ such as I Don’t Want to Disappear Completely; two brilliantly lit hands toy with one another, the necks of two figures intertwine against a grey backdrop. Precision is key. Maybe the purity that is sought is via familiarity; youth? Solitude? At times it feels as if her work asks more questions, than it answers. Although other series’ like Notre Besoin de Consolation is at first glance a far cry away from the coloured and and lovable aesthetic seen in other series, appearing stark, biographical and at times apathetic, it too has cinematic elements that enrich the intimacy displayed. We see as much darkness and shadows as we do the limbs, objects and other animals that slip through the series, murky and hidden, although it speaks more Film Noir than anything else. We are however given these snippets of intimate life: a couple embracing, a sleeping half nude figure, a shoal of goldfish swimming by, lives and entities that intertwine around Fromont, shared here as respected, delicate artefacts. Aether, acts as a middle ground between the two others, providing the familiarity of colour but using the power of chiaroscuro to enhance the already gloomy, rugged and semi-posed scenes of landscape and human that is presented. Who are the strangers there and who are the friends? The images almost seem to evade a fixed state of association, age and country, yet they remain captivating; moody, graciously primitive.
As someone ever embracing of darkness in her most intimate images, it is easy to see why she is often coined as cynical. Within her work however, the title of cynic is something she herself protests. “I would not say that my work is necessarily cynical” she maintains, “… I see more... naivety in my work”. Maybe it is this same naivety, that makes her work so palpable; shot with such conviction, presented with such resonant honesty.
Intimacy Within Naivety
Written by: Dorrell Merritt