Sylvie Tubiana, biographical notes

     Born in Boulogne-Billancourt in 1959, Sylvie Tubiana lives and works in La Rochelle. 
She attended the Ecole Nationale d'Art Décoratifs in Nice where she trained in various techniques (drawing, etching, lithography, painting, ceramics and photography, essentially in black and white).

She made important encounters : Xavier Arsène Henry (architect), André Villers (photographer), Marcel Alocco (painter). She decided that henceforth she would express herself only through the medium of photography. Her research placed her in the category of conceptual photography. In 1984, she created the series "Suite et-fractions" (Continuation and fractions) which was exposed at the Musée Réattu in Arles the following year.

In a first period, the black and white image is broken up directly from the shot into several dozen fragments and then put back together. The negative is used not for the reproduction of an identical image, but as a component serving to put together various images. This very constucted work was close to pictorial composition. The places photographed are always staged inner spaces,the specific living places of the artist, in which light and deformations of perspectives have fundamental importance. In 1987, thanks to a commission from the Maison de la Culture de La Rochelle, colour appeared in the work in association with the black ans white. In 1989, the format of the images was enlarged and the polyptych compositions became simplified into diptychs and triptychs. It was at this time that the "Faire Face" (Head on) series was created, in which Sylvie Tubiana confronts the camera lens. This series was to be exhibited many times, notably at the Musée de la Photographie in Charleroi. In 1991, she received an individual FIACRE/Minister of Culture, grant to support creative work, renewed in 1998 and 2003. In 1992-1993, two important exhibitions were held in La Rochelle and Vitry-sur-Seine showing the work spanning five years, from 1987 to 1991, with more than forty pieces on display.

The second period began in 1992, with the series "Evénement d'espace"(Space Event) for which she was awarded the Kodak Critics' Prize, in 1993. This series marks the abandon of black and white in favour of colour, but in a minimalist, near monochrome range. The image is no longer fragmented, brocken up or assembled, but composed by means of an image projeted into space and deformed on the wall-screen. Here again, light and perspective are the essential factors of this intimist work which combines presence and absence in a wandering that clings tightly to the walls. From 1994 onwards, the body becomes object or pretext in this work. Its naked image is projeted on the wall: stretched out, folded, broken, coloured blue or red, set in movement simply through the deformations of perspective. The grain of the skin becomes permeated with the grain of the wall, like a fresco, the grains of light also being visible. The light emerging from this image of the body is sometimes reflected on the opposite walls. The large format 120 x 120 cm photographic prints correspond to the 1/1 scale of the body. These works proceed from the implementation of pratices that owe as much to painting as they do to photography. References to the history of art appear regularly: from the Cranach’s Eve toFrancis Bacon, from Caravaggio to la Tour.
In 2000, this work took a shift of direction bringing us back to the original preoccupation: the deformation of the rectangle in space. The body is no longer photographed against a black background but a white one. During the projection, this whiteness gives the illusion of a box, of a “folding of light”, of a luminous prison: the body is dissolved in light. Presence becomes more narrative, theatrical. The spectator is called on to reflect on the act of seeing. In 2004, following an artistic residence in Japan two new series were created “Secret Memory” and “Onsen” emphasising the materials and the lifestyles in traditional Japanese architecture. In 2008, it’s still the Japan with photography projected on estampes, as if the drawing becomes reality, incarnes itself and in 2009 the same approach goes on using Ethiopian paintings whose personages populate my youngnes. Starting from 2010 and until now, the work incorporates the numerical photography while pursuing this research of associating the memory, various civilizations and their relation to the body. In January 2012, on the occasion of an artist residence in Ethiopia, she realized several photography series around d'Addis Abbeba, "Gondar" during Epiphanies’, "Lac Tana" and "Maternité" using the support of “Vierges à l’enfant” painted in the monasteries. She weaves a link with the presence of Rimbaud, his poems and his letters to Hugo Pratt “Les Ethiopiques” through the realization of several videos.The new artistic practises that Sylvie Tubiana imagines in Ethiopia have been pursued during travels or residencies in many countries: Jordanian, Greece, Japan, USA and in forest. These practises involve both making of photographs during the day and projecting them at night in the very place of the shooting and using archival documents: drawings, photographs as visual elements to project.

Alongside this work, multiple on-site installations with one or several slide projectors were exhibited in Thouars, St Brieuc, La Rochelle, Brussels and elsewhere …Contrary to the photographic prints, these installations offer an infinity of points of view and like a sculpture of light invite the visitor to move aroud them. They are regularly accompanied by soundtracks: music or texts which are read, sometimes in several languages. And since 2003, on-site videos installations.

Sylvie Tubiana has always had special relationships with writers and poets, namely Pierre Veilletet, Denis Montebello, Jean-François Mathé, Claude Chambard, Alain Richer, Sylvie Germain, Bernard Ruhaud, Masumi Midorikawa, Daniel Keene, Ito Naga … which are given concrete expression through publications and "objet books". She began the realization of artist's book in association with writers title Fragment of the Book. In 10 copies this project will collect extracts of all its work on the body since 1994 or more than about forty parts.