Search for content, post, videos

Atelier EXB : Sylvie Meunier : Mister K


Release at Atelier EXB of Mister K, the latest book by Sylvie Meunier.

Visual artist, Sylvie Meunier collects vernacular photographs, a living material which she seizes and takes over to construct imaginary stories. For Mister K, she plays with the atmospheres and photographic codes of B&W and combines, for the first time, this work of collecting images with that of writing. The story immerses the reader in an atmosphere that is part thriller, part auto-fiction. The narrator flees an event that is assumed to be traumatic: like a road movie, along the highways and motels, he recounts his childhood memories and those of a beloved woman, who has mysteriously disappeared…

The book is presented as follows:

Mister K
02/17/1958. Mister K leaves home only to return eight months later. Eight months during which he crosses the United States by car, immersed in his memories, driving at a frantic pace to what seems to be the end of the world.

Sylvie Meunier has carried out several projects around vernacular photography, among them the series Avant que tu ne disparaisses (2014) where she takes portraits of anonymous people from identity photographs from the end of the 19th century. Through these images, whose tones begin to fade, the artist attempts to capture both the disappearance and the ineffable presence of these characters. Another series highlighting her interest in the vernacular image, American dream (2017) consists of a gallery of portraits of Americans proudly posing in front of their cars, between the 1940s and 1980s, and testifies to the desire for embodiment of the middle classes . Bringing images into dialogue with each other, articulating series and telling stories are at the heart of Sylvie Meunier’s creative process. The resulting visual novels, such as Mister K, question both the photographic medium and literature: where fiction and illusion are revisited.

For the Mister K project, the artist started from an initial selection of B&W photographs to develop a first-person story, in texts and images. The collection of photographs feeds the writing work and vice versa, to finally compose a fiction in which Sylvie Meunier keeps the suspense. She plays on variations in atmosphere and with the photographic codes of black and white, alternating deep darkness and overexposed views, echoing the plot of the story, which oscillates between logbook and flashbacks. The graphic rhythm and the scanning of the text underlie the entire work: visual loop effects create a tension that keeps the reader in suspense. The fleeting moments follow one another: like flashes, the ultra-contrasting black and white images develop a cinematic story underlined by the narrator’s voice-over: what really happened? Who is that man ? Why is he fleeing? The notion of time disintegrates, memory becomes blurred.

In this “photographic novel” where images and textual incises alternate, Sylvie Meunier leads a plot bordering on the fantastic. The genres mix to create a singular work: a book of photographs, a literary story, a cinematic fiction, a psychological investigation… The visual power of the images and the narrative rhythm carried out in the mode of “I” take the reader into a universe both strange and familiar, that of the America of the Beat Generation, of a golden age of Hollywood film noir.


Sylvie Meunier : Mister K
Atelier EXB
Soft cover, 16.5 x 21.5 cm
352 pages
Around 200 B&W photographs
ISBN: 978-2-36511-303-8
Price: €39 including tax

Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures.

Install WebApp on iPhone
Install WebApp on Android