Sara Imloul has been deploying symbolic and autobiographical photography since 2008, focusing on fixing in the darkness, these black and white interior visions born of memories.
Since her studies at the EPTA in Toulouse, Sara Imloul has used the calotype, a process developed by Henri Fox Talbot in 1840 which makes it possible, from a paper negative, to obtain a print by contact.
Each negative is reworked by hand, Imloul mixes drawing and collage with her photographic prints, and composes her singular narration by hand.
Contrary to digital manipulation, rather reconnecting with the origins of the medium, the black and white images of Imloul are then thought of as real theatrical tableaux that seem straight out of the 19th century.
For her first exhibition at the Hopstreet gallery, Sara Imloul presents three different series including Négatifs (2012), Das Schloss (2014) and Chez Moi (2020).
Her calotypes are distinguished by their small format and their great preciousness with her second series Negatives (2012). Imloul directly exposed the paper in her 4×5 inch view camera, creating unique works in negative on baryta paper.
Imloul continues with the series Das Schloss, (2014) which takes its name from the family house located in Lorraine, then organising a photographic sitting in camera of her relatives and ancestors. In order to better tell the story of this place, shown by traces and small touches, she sets, facing her imposing room, intimate sketches on the model of a family constellation, a term borrowed from group therapy which aims to unravel the family problems by switching roles. Reflection on identity and introspective dimension are at work here, the I then passing through the game: of role-playing, masked games and staging games are thus brought together by the magic of photography. And the photographer invests the tenuous interstice which separates the reconstitution from the recollection, the reality of the Imloul representation then giving rise to an appearance, revealing an evanescent image which is expressed like a reminiscence. Such a practice proceeds from an interrogation on the indexing powers of the medium, capable of materializing thought, of generating the fictional duplication of past events.
Chez Moi, 2020 is a series designed during confinement, produced entirely in her Parisian apartment. As a worthy heiress of her Dadaist predecessors, she now resorts to collage and incorporates into these shots images of alligator, gazelle or pelican which she tenderly calls her “innocents”, victims of a world increasingly guilty of cutting us off from beauty and life. The violence of reality is never far away; photography simply sublimates it.
Conveying a theatrical sense of composition, these meticulous scenographies, supporting props and sets, are set with the precision of a surveyor and require meticulous preparation, built around texts and sketches. The exposure times are long, no room is left for improvisation, Imloul seeking above all an image as close as possible to the threshold of her imagination. Having become pure artistic elements, her relatives whom she uses as models thus adopt fixed attitudes, sometimes even strong gestures. The faces are concealed, the showing of the bodies as if fragmented, the metonymy then displacing them in a troubled register, with no vanishing point. Underlying enigma and latent tension are sovereign, thus designating a photograph experienced as a labyrinthine space where loss is combined with discovery.
Sara Imloul (°1986) lives and works in Paris.
Winner of the Prix Levallois 2019 for the series Passages, de l’Ombre aux Images.
She has published two monographs with Éditions Filigranes: Passages, de l’Ombre aux Images in 2022 and Das Schloss, in 2014.
It was exhibited at the Manuel Riviera-Ortiz Foundation in a duo show with Elina Brotherus as part of the Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles 2022.
Sara Imloul : Images contact
March 12 – April 29, 2023
Sint-Jorisstraat 109 rue Saint Georges
1050 Bruxelles, Belgique