Cette résidence d’artiste à Budapest s’est déroulée en octobre 2012 dans le cadre des échanges entre le CEAAC (F) et la Budapest Galéria (H).
Avec le soutien de la Région Alsace et du CEAAC.

sonia poirot
sonia poirot

voir le journal de la résidence à Budapest (octobre 2012)


Sonia Poirot, the storyteller

What is it that makes Sonia Poirot's pictures both so poetical and so dark? Appealing but also disturbing? So irrealistic and so true to one's very reality? What is it that makes you feel both captivated and taken aback when looking at her work?

Sonia Poirot's pictures are snapshots taken from tales : exactly as a storyteller uses langage, Sonia Poirot creates an oneiric space in her creations that play on distance and proximity to one's inner self. Usually, her photographs take place in a background that can't be identified - both totally outside of our day-to-day experience and not absolutely "magical" : they just seem elsewhere. As in a fairy tale.
And then, there is this masked and black dressed character entering this nowhere-world. The white mask doesn't have the same purpose as traditionnal masks used to embody a folkloric character - this one is impersonnal and strives for being as neutral as possible. It doesn't show any feeling on the character's face, nearly as if its face had been cut out of the picture. Nevertheless, this white impersonnal mask is disturbing, much heavier than an expressionless human face. There is something non-human about it : a non-human character in a non-hearthly place - the absolute non-neutral neutrality. This is the exact situation we can find in a tale.
That is why some viewers may even feel these pictures are violent - exactly as grown-ups often think traditionnal tales are too harsh for children. Actually, as Bruno Bettelheim says, children enjoy also this 'violence' because it expresses their own inner violence they have to deal with. This is why these stories - and these photographs - speak to us so truely and deeply, as long as we don't try to avoid this violence.

How can it be that an artist creating pictures could be a teller? Actually, Sonia Poirot's photographs are firstly performances - and the artist is a performer, exactly as Gyula Ortutay describes the storyteller in his studies about oral tradition and perpetuation of folkloric tales. Ortutay says that what is interesting in these traditions are not only the stories that go through centuries and still mean something to the deepest part of ourself, but also the tale narrator's own personality. The storyteller is not a parrot repeating what he has been told as he was younger, he is a performer influencing these very strong individual truths by his own creation and imagination. He is re-creating. Sonia Poirot doesn't stage pre-existant scenes - nevertheless her compositions make this strange and strong effect on us as tales do on children.

As she was preparing her residency in Budapest, Sonia Poirot took interest into folkloric hungarian tales. According to Sandor Solymossy, the specific thing about hungarian tales is their 'oriental' part, including (as opposed to all western tales) that they don't have always happy ends and that you can't even take some moral advice out of them. What remains are the darkest and most attracting side of the stories. Sonia Poirot may therefore be called a hungarian storyteller.

Debora Fischkandl
- 25 octobre 2012

sonia poirot

sonia poirot

sonia poirot