Born in France, Fabrice Bigot is a photographer who lives and works in Melbourne. His latest collection, 'Naked Garden' can be viewed here at ATFA. This is an interview with Bigot about the collection, art and the secret lives of plants.
What is about suburbia/gardens at night that intrigues you? Do you find suburbia eerie at night?
I am not really interested in suburbia actually. The concept of suburbia is a very Australian thing and I am from Europe. Instead, my fascination goes to large urban sites - Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Los Angeles, etc... I love the contrast between the extreme modernity and the unexpected presence of some life forms, like the plants for my Naked Garden series. They seem lost in a world of concrete, steel and rationalism. And why at night? Because I love the simplicity of the light, the colours which turn to monochrome. I love its sense of minimalism, authenticity, and intimacy…
How do you want viewers to respond to your work?
I’ve got no expectations when it comes to the viewers. I know that in any creative process, there are several stages: you dream of something, you take the image, you edit it in the darkroom and then, it’s time to show it to an audience. From then on, it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the viewers. We have to accept that it is part of the magic of art. In fact, I find it quite pleasant to rediscover my own work through the eyes and words of someone else.
You treat your botanical subject matter with sincere interest. Do you have a wider interest in botany?
My interest goes to what is called superstructures, which is found in nature’s ability to create complexity in shapes and beauty. Perhaps this explains why I love nature’s creations as much as extreme urban landscapes and the human body. All those express through an obvious complexity, something which is quite simple, primal, and to me intoxicating. I think that just calling it beauty would be too restrictive - what is the right word?
Have you always worked in photography?
No, I haven't actually. I took my first photos at age 12, after my dad gave me his 35mm Pentax camera. By 13 I had my first darkroom. My dad who is an architect loves photography and my mum who was back then a journalist, loves words. This is perhaps why I decided to enter the cinema industry - combining my interest for images and words within a single medium. I need narratives to be part of each work I make. Early on I became interested in experimental films and made several film and video works, using both analog and digital technology. And I plan to make more.