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Charlotte Mano – Thank you mum


Invited by the Château d’Eau to participate in the European initiative program: PARALLEL – European Photo Based Platform – photographic project linking institutions, curators and emerging photographers – Charlotte Mano has started on this occasion her new series “Thank you mum” which, having been exhibited at the Organ Vida festival in Zagreb one of our partner, will be presented at Gallery 2 from October 26th to January 6th, 2018.

This work deals with the merging relationship of a mother and her daughter when she learns that she has an incurable disease. An explorer of image and the intimate, it is with softness and sensitivity and in a deeply moving exchange that she photographs her sick mother.

Always looking for new experiences and new photographic writings, she defies the image and its forms to make them sensual and disturbing.

Create and love

In 1996, the Italian neurobiologist Giacomo Rizzolatti and his collaborators announced the discovery of mirror neurons. The analysis of their functions revealed that they are involved in imitation and emulation behaviors, making the brain able to adopt someone else’s point of view, allowing us to socialize and learn everything the environment shows us. Those responsible for human empathy are particularly active during childhood. This is how a baby starts to cry when he sees another crying.

The allegorical use of mirror neurons for the analysis of certain aspects that make up the DNA of photography opens a symbolic space which, in my opinion, makes it possible to explain the irresistible power of empathy of certain photographs. The images collaborate in the process of understanding the world and activate our synchronicity with the subjectivity of others through the echoes of our own emotions and experiences. They help to put an ethical distance between the subject and his own life. This allows us to spontaneously pass from me to us without the mediation of judgment.

A large number of images created by Charlotte Mano for her Thank You Mum series come from this amniotic space that precedes creation. In fact, the drawing she made of her mother is a poignant and vivid illustration of what is not visible, what is not yet. That’s why, perhaps, the images in this series do not fit into a linear narrative. They are created and arranged in the way that poets place words in their poems, ignoring the order of syntax to help words emancipate themselves from their referents and their meanings, to acquire multiple semantic and expressive potentialities.

The pain of loss and the anxiety about the irreversible – emotional epicenters of this work – coexist in this entropic universe that reunites also through the most primary love, the one that unites us to who gave us life . It is impossible to unfold these photographs, these emotional flashes, in a chronological order. Nor do memories emerge following a temporal line. Charlotte Mano illustrates with a deliberate ambiguity those spaces of indeterminacy that situate the present in a field of timelessness and make memory a multidimensional temporality: an echo of the past that resonates constantly with the present.

Her images are rich with echoes, reverberations and rituals whose morphology opens to the transvisible, a concept that represents the interstitial passage between the invisible and the visible, between what we know and what we do not know, between what we want and what we fear. A territory, deeply removed from the verbal, that we all share, either because our emotional experience has traveled painfully, or because it has passed nearby, scrutinizing the unfathomable darkness of pain. But we come out of it. And we come back to life. Although in the meantime it is necessary to take leave and thank. This is the effectiveness of rituals, especially those that we practice intuitively. They allow us to perform intelligent actions without going through rational intelligence. This is how Charlotte Mano went about it, joining all these women who taught us to abandon modesty and let the essence of feelings flow. The epidermic judgment that we will then focus on the aesthetic aspects of his work is of no importance. What is really important is the honesty of the process.

Alejandro Castellote

1 The term “transvisible” was coined by the French poet Serge Venturini (Paris, 1955) in his poem The bridge over the transvisible (2008).


Charlotte Mano – Thank you mum
October 26, 2018 to January 6, 2019
Le Château d’Eau
1, place Laganne
31300 Toulouse

Exhibition realized as part of PARALLEL – European Photo Based Platform with the help of the Photon laboratory

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