An ASX Interview with Hubert Marot, by Guillaume Blanc, ASX Paris, April 2013
GB: What type of education did you receive? (how do you perceive it, what did it teach you)
HM: I did a foundation course at the Beaux Arts in Nice, that’s when I decided I wanted to learn photography. So I enrolled in a school in Paris, with the sole purpose of mastering the photographic technique at the highest level I could achieve. I believe that technical training is the basis of any medium.
GB: What is your personal formation? (your influences, your inspiration in any realm, but also what you dislike and seek to avoid – in a word, what informs the way you view photography)
HM: I was shaped by encounters, conversations I’ve had, emotions I’ve felt, but also by some failures I’ve gone through. Like everyone, I have some knowledge about Art, and I work on my curiosity everyday. This allows me to link things together in order to make new discoveries. The artists I respect have all created their own language.
A few years ago, I was guided by chance when taking pictures. I would live experiences, photograph some of them, and then I would assemble them in what we crudely call a “series”.
Today, I’m still open to chance, because it can allow beautiful things to emerge, but the basis of my work is a strong mental image that I will try to reproduce.
I have little respect for photography precisely because of this notion of reproduction, it makes me very uncomfortable. That’s why I’m very rigorous in the way I create an image, even in the most material sense. It is imperative that I place a sense of value in what I produce, and I am only able to see this value when I apply a rigorous and exacting process.
These are the latest great changes in the way I’ve been working. It has taken me a long time to reach these conclusions.
GB: This idea of developing a photographic language is very important to me. In the work you have shown up till now, the first stages of the development of your own personal language are already visible. For instance you can see it in a certain visual consistency. How do you decide which technique you’ll use, in order to achieve the image you want to make?
HM: Photography is quickly absorbed, it is easy to produce but very difficult to be consistent. I’ve started to sharpen my eye. When I said I was being exacting, I’m especially firm when it comes to image selection – I can’t tolerate any parasitic images. Each and every image has to be strong enough to be able to stand on its own.
I only shoot in black and white, which could account for the visual consistency you were talking about. Other than that, I don’t really know, it’s a fairly natural process.
GB: Aside from what characterizes your style, there are recurring themes in your work: the human body for instance, but mostly as a body confronting itself and resisting to its environment. It’s something that can be read when seeing some of your photographic series, like Unbroken for instance, where there is an alternation between wounded bodies and pictures of brutalist architecture. What was the premise of this series and how did you decide on the final layout?
HM: I’m not interested in humans as individuals. I find photographic interest in the beauty of a body, a gesture or an emotion. Skin as a landscape. I’ve spent all my teenage years on a skateboard, I remember the pleasure of the mark on your skin, of the overcoming pain, of the scar as trophy.
I liked how you could lose your bearings in architectural landscapes, and a certain idea of abstraction in the volumes.
GB: What would be for you the ideal way to practice photography? What could instill you with the respect you seem to lack for this medium?
HM: That is strictly personal and comes from a lack of respect for my own production. I like slow work, it is easier to photograph reality than to invent your own. I’m moving towards unique prints and ancient techniques, gestures that would reconcile me with photography.
Recently I’ve started to make objects myself, they are present in some of the images and sometimes they exist separately as well.
GB: Can you tell us about your coming projects? (your exhibition in Marseille particularly)
HM: I’m currently working on several projects about Rituals. Animal violence is a recurring theme, and I’m very influenced by childhood and youth memories from when my father would take me hunting with him.
I’ve been invited to “La dernière vague” for Marseille 2013, European capital of culture. It’s an exhibition about the influence of the underground culture on contemporary art.
(All rights reserved. Text @ ASX and Guillaume Blanc, Images @ Hubert Marot)