“We have never been confronted by such images, which are so direct, so devoid of romanticism and yet so sensitive at the same time. Pin-Fat presents his work in gigantic albums, which refer more to the format of ‘real’ cinema than to documentary, emphasizing the fascinating aspect of his generous as well as disturbing approach.
Unceasingly seeking to repudiate the limits of direct representation to favour impressionism, questioning an unstable universe, his images are unclassifiable."
Christian Caujolle (1998) - critic, lecturer, artistic director, author and curator
“.....Pin-Fat has lived as part of the worlds he depicts but his photography doesn’t avow familiar aesthetic codes of proximity. They are far too visceral to intimate any degree of distance that would be claimed by the mere fact of observation. Instead, Pin-Fat’s photographs function as objects to be held – perhaps as momento mori – rather than coolly interpreted. And here we can contemplate the extremes of existence, the edges of our otherwise mundane realities, and a journey to physical and perceptual limits that has its literary corollary in the works of, say, Pierre Guyotat or Jean Genet. The American author Gary Indiana wrote that the prose of the former enacts ‘…a continual demolition of structural elements and distinctions between “I” and others, self and things…’ but conceded ‘All writing is approximate, all language a substitution; Guyotat’s is less distant from it describes than what readers are conditioned to digest’.
It remains an open question how any artist can truly arrest us without becoming lost to the aesthetic but Pin-Fat comes very close to creating fissures in the screen between the world, how we experience it, and how it can represented back to us.”
Brian Curtin (2014) - critic, lecturer, author and curator
Olivier Pin-Fat // born: december 1969, Britain // represented by L’Agence/Galerie VU (Paris) 1998-2008 // co-founded ‘AM projects’ in 2011 // lives in Italy
Olivier Pin-Fat is a photographer/artist working solely in analogue & predominantly through the book medium - handmade or in publishable (trade) formats - and/or with installations.
Deliberately using a process which is hard to control, Pin-Fat accepts the disappearances and losses inherent to darkroom practice to embrace the accidental.
Paralleling a frayed, damaged and mutable way of being/seeing/looking both psychologically and literally - a large part of his practice particularly from 2003 onwards has leaned heavily on the destruction of the image itself, often involving the vandalism of film prior to (or sometimes during) film development. This process results in the erosion or deletion of much of what he actually photographs with the camera, if not a total destruction (or ‘still-birth’) then in the least a rupture of the emulsion’s surface. In this sense, a secondary (or tertiary depending on your point of view) ‘decisive moment’ ostensibly occurs for him after the initial photographic (f)act has taken place, a fermentation far away from the conjunction of elements recorded by the camera itself, happening unseen in the developing tanks, & finally culminating in what comes out of them (or in the majority of cases, doesn’t). He works with (and on) what is ‘given’ or what has emerged out of the wreckage.
Using an array of different film stocks and printing on silver gelatin fibre based papers only (some also very outdated) what he feasibly can in his darkroom he creates visual narratives, or what he describes as ‘assemblages’ from what survives, the remnants, the remains - ultimately of what light and chance has permitted him to.
His work has been exhibited widely in spaces as diverse as the Centro Cultural Conde-Duque
(Madrid, PHotoEspaña 2001), Le Centre d’Art Contemporain de Basse-Normandie (1998), About(Photography)Gallery (Bangkok, 1996), The Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre (2010,11), The Museum of Botanique (Brussels, 2018) to more anomalous venues such as NACC (Bangkok, 2016), a former Mao era candy factory (Lianzhou, China, 2006), the old gasworks/gaswerken at UNSEEN (Amsterdam, 2012) and in a sandstone medieval building (also formerly the French Communist Party’s HQ) during Les Rencontres d'Arles (2015) - to mention a few.