Marie Bovo: Nocturnes
«Night photography involves long exposure times, and one of the effects of long exposure is that, along with light, time becomes part of the equation.» Marie Bovo
It is often at dusk that Marie Bovo feels the urge to make time standstill. And not only because of the extremely long exposure time that her chosen technique (large-format, film, natural light) demands, but also so she can watch the slow passage of time unfold in intermediate spaces that are inhabited, despite being empty of people.
The Nocturnes project, the exhibition (at the Fondation HCB from February 25 to May 17, 2020, now temporarily closed) and the related book, includes an unprecedented selection of images taken by Marie Bovo at twilight, in Marseille and Africa.
This approach to time, illustrated by both photography and film, is based on a quiet, thoughtful observation, the politeness of her gaze, the appropriation of an imagined inner self perceived from the outside. Marie Bovo moves comfortably from photography to the moving image and her photographs, systematically presented in series to emphasize the passage of time, are always on the threshold of film-making.
In these highly controlled visual images, one does not at first detect the humanism that underlies them. It is commonplace for Marie Bovo to work on the threshold of intimacy, without being intrusive, in people’s homes or at night. It is her way of thwarting the camera’s aggressive tendencies and going discreetly with the flow of people’s lives.
From the book accompanying the exhibition an extract from Alain Bergala’s text:
“When Marie Bovo embarks upon a photography series – in Africa, Algiers or Marseille – at the heart of her work there is always a serene exploration of the same profound, virtual potentiality of the photograph that she is responsible for bringing out. Photography, for an overwhelming majority of photographers, is the art of capturing a moment in the world of appearances that lies before them. It is generally an art of the full and the visible. But photography, as these images prove, can also be an art of absence, of disappearance and the evaporation of the visible.
What is an “essential” photographer? It is people like Marie Bovo who, among all the potentialities of their art, have been able to recognize the one potentiality that they needed to explore and which had never before been so clearly and fully explored. The virtuality of an essence of photography – which somehow was “waiting” to be revealed – is something they have found rather than sought out. It has forced itself upon the essential photographer, without their calculating in any way how to make themselves unique, but simply because it is the exact expression, in photographic form, of their ontological relationship to the world.”
About the author
Born in 1967 in Alicante, Spain, Marie Bovo lives and works in Marseille. She is represented by the Kamel Mennour gallery in Paris. Marie Bovo was nominated for the Infinity Awards by the International Center of Photography in New York in 2016.
Her work has been the subject of many solo exhibitions in France, including at Les Rencontres d’Arles, the Kamel Mennour gallery in Paris, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, the FRAC Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur in Marseille and the Fondation Fernet-Branca in Saint-Louis. She has also exhibited abroad – at the OSL Contemporary Gallery in Norway, the California Museum of Photography and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. These exhibitions have led to the publication of several books.
Her works have also been widely shown in group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale in 2011, the Busan Biennale in South Korea in 2012, the Contemporary Art Biennale in Thessaloniki in 2013 and the Milan Triennale in 2014. Recently, she participated in the 29th Roesler Hotel exhibition in Sao Paulo in 2019.
MARIE BOVO – NOCTURNES
February 25 – May 17, 2020
Henry Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Paris