La Grotte - Speaking in Tongues
This improbably named collective brings together the paths of six young photographers, graduates of Le 75 in Brussels. Bertrand Cavalier, Lucie Dufour, Maud Faivre, Sara Gonzalez, Massao Mascaro and Gilles Ribero all practice auteur photography in their individual ways, working at the boundary of documentary and art photography. La Grotte evokes for them the photographer’s darkroom with an implicit hint at the movement that takes them outside to capture the light and brings them back in to translate it onto paper. It was an easy call to take this metaphor to represent the group.
“Speaking in tongues” refers to the use, usually unconscious or automatic, of an unknown language made up from familiar sounds. This title with its biblical flavour echoes the way that they see their work as a collective in this new project. Speaking in Tongues is thought of as a space of freedom where the members each draw from their own oeuvre so that contact with others allows new readings of their own work. Pulled from their original contexts, the images take shape in a shared expression that leads them to serve as a wellspring of unexpected directions. While maintaining each photographer’s distinct approach and feel, La Grotte dissolves the concept of author and oeuvre through the construction of a new language using visual associations.
We bounce back and forth between a succession, as intelligent as it is delightful, of landscapes, intimate portraits and vernacular images. The treatment is sometimes raw and cutting, sometimes with a rigorous, almost scientific, precision, sometimes with quite pictorial abstraction. Polysemic but never tumbling into disorder, the whole is revealed through an eminently poetical prism.
In parallel with the individual careers and exhibitions of each of its members, the collective has featured in exhibitions at the Le Gué youth centre (Brussels, 2013), at PointCulture Louvain-La-Neuve with the Lucie project (2014), a projection in collaboration with Septembre Tiberghien, answering the invitation from Amélie de Brouwer and Damien De Lepeleire at Dehors, Contemporary Art Window (Brussels, 2015) and a residency at the Destelheide youth, art and creativity centre (Dworp, 2015).
Speaking in Tongues is also a book project in collaboration with the German graphic artist Björn Schmidt, which is currently in preparation.