Delphine Burtin’s geometric fragments
French photographer Delphine Burtin studied graphic design and took an interest in the works of Alexander Rodchenko, as well as the Bauhaus and Dada. But while the design world demands precision, Burtin’s photographic practice has led her into a search for ambiguity. Her photographs are often printed, cut apart, combined, and re-photographed in a way that distorts all sense of scale and reality. Sometimes the original subject is barely recognizable, having been cut apart and compressed, or superimposed over a geometric composition, like a visual rebus. Burtin undermines our confidence in our own perception, sowing doubt.
In her latest show, on view at Benrubi gallery in New York, she brings together four new bodies of work, all visual explorations using forms found in nature such as harvested plants or a subject as essential as folded paper. “Fragments” presents us with photographic work that is a study around the object: it’s geometry and the space it inhabits, forcing us to question our relationship to the tangible. To introduce the work, Burtin quotes Anil Seth, a cognitive and computational neuroscientist at University of Sussex, UK: “Our reality is merely a controlled hallucination, reined in by our senses,”
The artist’s treatment of her subject in muted light, decomposed space and the loss of time creates a visual pun where the elements of the “real” only emerge in the final image. The invisible nature of the photographed subject becomes the final protagonist, our minds are lost in the reality the artist gives us. We recompose the object following the visual breakdown she presents. Burtin, whose book “Encouble” was nominated for the First Photobook prize at the 2013 Paris Photo Fair, goes beyond the creation of the image. She looks to the sculptural dimension as her building blocks and the experience of the viewer as the final touchstone between the constructed interior world: the picture space and its’ relationship to an objective reality.