'Wait and See', f&d cartier - 31 Jan - 14 Mar 2014

The University of Hertfordshire Galleries are delighted to present, Wait and See; A Retrospective, by Swiss Artists f&d cartier. 

University of Hertfordshire Galleries at the Museum of St Albans
Hatfield Road, St Albans AL1 3RR
Tel: 01727 819340
Gallery Opening Times:
Mon-Sat 10.00–5.00 / Sun 2.00–5.00

Many believe photography deals exclusively with the reproduction of objects and images but, as cultural theorist John Berger tells us, “its primary raw materials are light and time.” and it is from an acute awareness of the fundamental relationship between light, time and space that this fascinating exhibition unfolds.

From the mid 1990s onwards, Francoise and Daniel Cartier merged their individual fine art and photography practices embarking on a new artistic trajectory that continues today. Examining the indispensable prerequisites for analogue photography: light and photosensitive paper, they make camera-less woks incorporating found objects, which explore the relationship between light, colour tonality, form and duration.

Although deeply informed by the history of photography, their practice is resolutely experimental and contemporary, adopting an approach, which takes its cues from both minimalism and abstraction. Their interest lies not in the medium’s ability to affectively reproduce an image but rather its role in enabling us to visualise the affective dimensions of time.

The series Wait and See, began with the pair experimenting with their own expired photographic paper but has developed into a project which sees them collecting unexposed paper from around the world, some dating as far back as the 1880s.  Installed unexposed in the gallery a chromatic transformation of the photo-sensitive paper begins. Each sheet has its own past history and individual chemical composition and each responds differently to the available light. Viewers are treated to an experiential surprise, albeit one that requires them to 'wait and see'.

Another series Veni Etiam began in 2008 with the chance discovery of a series antique silver albumen glass plates, in a flea market in Venice bring us images of Murano glass chandeliers, furniture and mirrors produced by a Venetian artisan.

Adopting contemporary digital processes, the Cartiers were able to manipulate the colour tonality and light contrast of these images creating new images with an odd painterly quality evoking the frescoes and paintings of 19th century Venice.

Whether through the manipulation of modern technique or from an investigation of the very basics of the process of picture-making in photography their work manages to capture something of the fragile and unstable nature of life itself, of its traces and evidences.

Wait and See is produced in collaboration with Ffotogallery, Cardiff supported by Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Cultural Fund in Britain and Swisslos Culture Canton de Berne

A fully illustrated monograph Wait and See published by Ffotogallery priced £15.00 accompanies the exhibition.