With Mythologies (2020-2022), Mano comes back to her search on the limits of the photographic media. The images -self portraits- are made at night, with the only light of the full moon. One image every full moon. Again in the same landscapes but alone. There she reveals a state of ecstasy, a back to self, a call to calm. As always with Mano, there’s a kind of silence, a melancholy grace. On a technical point of view, the images – very grainy due to the lack of light – are directly printed with UV on an aluminum plate
Thank You Mum
The Italian neurobiologist, Giacomo Rizzolatti, and his colleagues announced the discovery of mirror neurons in 1996. The analysis of their functioning revealed how they are implicated in the behaviors of imitation and emulation which permit the brain to adopt another person’s point of view while also allowing the subject to socialize and to learn about their environment. These neurons, responsible for human empathy, are particularly active during childhood and they explain why a baby will start to cry when they see another one crying.
The allegoric use of mirror neurons to analyze certain aspects of the composition of photography’s DNA open a symbolic space which, in my opinion, explains the irresistible empathetic power of certain photographs. The images collaborate with the process of understanding the world and activate our synchrony with another person’s subjectivity which echoes our own emotions and experiences. They contribute to put an ethical distance between the subject and their own life allowing us to go spontaneously from an individual self to a collective “we” without the mediation of a judgement.
A large number of the images created by Charlotte Mano for her series Thank you Mum originate from this amniotic space that precedes creation. The drawing she made as a child of her mother is a poignant, radiant illustration of what is not visible or of what is not yet visible. That’s why, perhaps, the images in this series do not form a linear narrative. They are created and ordered in the manner poets arrange words in their poems. They ignore standard syntax to free words of their referents and meanings to acquire multiple semantic and expressive potentialities.
The pain of loss and the anxiety in front of the irreversible – emotional epicenters of this work - coexist in this universe of entropy that brings us together with the most primal love, joining us to the one who gave us life. It is impossible to deploy these photographs, to put these emotional flashes in a chronological order. Like memories, they don’t follow a clear temporal line. Charlotte Mano illustrates in a deliberate ambiguity these undetermined spaces that place the present in a timeless domain and constitute the multidimensional temporality of memory: an echo from the past that can still be heard in the present.
Her images are rich in echoes, reverberations and rituals whose morphology opens on the transvisible 1, a concept that represents the interstitial passage between the invisible and the visible, between what we know and what we don’t know, between what we desire and what we fear. Profoundly distanced from the verbal, this is an area we all share through painful emotional experiences or when we are within their proximity, both scrutinize the unfathomable obscurity of suffering. But we manage to get by. And we come back to life. However, in that interval, we need to take a break and to be grateful. That’s what makes rituals so efficient, in particular, those we know intuitively. They let us carry out intelligent acts without using our rational intelligence. That’s how Charlotte Mano works, joining all the women who taught us how to give up our reticence and let the essence of our feelings flow. The judgement we cast on the aesthetic aspects of her work has no importance. It is the deep honesty of the process that is truly important.
Text from Alejandro Castellote
Muses ou peinture mais en fait non
At night, in the blur of pixels, bodies still exist but their manifestation seems altered, uncertain, at the limit of loss. By going against the very definition of photography «writing with light», Charlotte Mano experiments a new form of vision and invites the spectator to let go of a literal interpretation of her images. The materials mingle and respond so well that one gets lost in the body, the night, the image.
Thus we enter into a sensual relation to the image: the constraint of the visibility forces us to «decipher» the other, to «see» it, in its fragile presence. These pixels, which become the visible DNA of the image, confuse the viewer: Painting? Pointillism? Image 3.0?
However, the artist does not intend to deceive us. By modifying the technical capabilities of her digital camera, Mano was able to capture the very essence of the image.
The choice of making an UV print on brushed aluminum ends up focusing the language of the artist in photographic exploration, both from a formal and conceptual point of view.
In her series entitled “Portraire”, Charlotte Mano questions the image and its power of representation. Bluish images, vaporous bodies, the subjects seem frozen, as if the image was gently striking them with an irremediable sensation of artificiality. She keeps experimenting on the image as a veil. Applied to the representation of the face, this approach proves to be relevant - even disturbing: the image takes on the appearance of painting in its form and as a final work. In this series, Charlotte Mano is at the crossroads of several influences: art, fashion, painting, she gently breaks down borders thanks to a contemporary look at the fashion figure. Her photograph become a medium of derealization: the image is not a repository of any truth.
An attempt to symbolically make the places of her childhood survive by flying a sheet in landscapes that eventually disappear.
"There are several ways to approach this series. One of the possible readings would be about the artifacts put in place to realize it and which are intended to resemble a kind of science, archaic or modern: that of the capture, with a strange and why not perfected device, it is a question of surprising these humans nyctalopes, specimen never met until then. So I invite my «viewer» to a story of the expectation which we will assume here that the central figure has more to do with the scout than with the hunter. To imagine a story and to be interested in the speculative dimension of an image is a central question of my work, the characters become beyond their own presence, the clues of an underlying story: fable, science fiction."