Carine Thevenau is a visual artist that has an incredible passion for photography. It all started on a school camp back in primary school & has lead to where she is now! Carine has developed her photography into an arts based practice, with her current project "Seasonal Abandonment Of Imaginary Worlds" exhibition opening on 10th March as part of the Sydney Design Festival.
This series of work documents the deserted playgrounds that appear during the winter months in Japan. Her exhibition at Koskela Gallery features these images printed at a large scale on Hahnemühle Bamboo which compliments & brings a connection back to Japan and the material so commonly used there. Carine has also turned this collection of work into a limited edition book, published through Editions Publishing.
Read more about this project & her thoughts below.
Education and background:
I started studying photography at high school after doing a dark room course and camp when I was in primary school. It was completely analogue and I spent many hours after school and during lunch times in the dark room. I remember having chemical stains all over my clothes as a teenager.
I then completed an Advanced Diploma of Applied Science in Photography at the West Australian Centre of Art and Design. After this I worked for many years as a commercial photographer, before completing my Masters of Art at the University of NSW Art and Design. During the last five or so years I have developed my photography journey into an arts based practice.
Have you always had an interest in photography and how did you turn it into a profession?
I have never been interested in anything as much as I am into photography. Photography is my profession and my passion. I am also passionate about writing about my photography and reading about other people’s photography and research.
I began shooting event and music photography for local magazines and newspapers in the early 2000’s. I was out at different functions almost every night of the week. This made for many hours spent looking through the lens and pressing that button.
How has your photography style evolved over the years?
I began shooting on film and developing pictures in the darkroom. Even the social portraits I shot were on film and then scanned to CD. Then came digital photography and now I am back shooting on film and waiting for labs to scan my work again. This time they are usually uploaded or copied to a USB. It’s really exciting.
Where do you look to for your creative inspiration?
Everywhere! Often nature and our complex relationship with the natural world. Having a two year old daughter also helps me to notice things that I otherwise would pass by, in oblivion.
What equipment/cameras do you use and how do you decide which format to shoot with?
Commercially I shoot with Nikon cameras. My film photography is shot on Hasselblad or Canon. I tend to decide what to shoot with depending upon the project.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement to date?
Being part of the Sydney Design Festival this year is such an honour. I am also launching my first book "Seasonal Abandonment Of Imaginary Worlds" at the Melbourne Art Book Fair 2018 at the NGV, which is an amazing opportunity.
You are exhibiting a personal project ‘Seasonal Abandonment Of Imaginary Worlds’ at the Sydney Festival in March. Tell us a bit about this project and how it came to be.
I am exhibiting large scale bamboo prints of my abandoned Japanese playground series ‘Seasonal Abandonment Of Imaginary Worlds’ at Koskela Gallery in Sydney. I shot the playgrounds in rural Japan during the winter season, so they are covered in snow. Most of the playgrounds are abandoned and a few are abandoned temporarily due to the freezing snow. The photographic collection of playgrounds have also been made into a book, published through Editions Publishing.
Other than the playgrounds being pretty and nostalgic, they made me think of why they were abandoned and why are humans so mesmerised by the abandoned? Through researching I began to interpret the empty space, created by the absence of people within the play spaces, as creating an interval in time and space. This interval, referred to as “Ma”, is a Japanese concept and is defined as a space between or a pause where life and emotion can exist.
This space between allows us to read the playgrounds as revealing Japans aging population, but also the rising Satori Generation. The Satori Generation describe the contemporary Japanese youth, who accept a more simple way of living and value vintage over shiny new things. They are allowing objects, such as these playgrounds, to have a longer life span than in the west, whereby playgrounds are bulldozed and rebuilt again, on a regular basis and often use plastic materials.
The playgrounds emphasize Japanese philosophies towards waste and sustainability due to the longer life cycle. The playgrounds show no sign of graffiti or damage and this reveals “kei-i” and translates to respect for other people and others property. All of these cultural philosophies are allowing the playgrounds the possibility to be used again for play or other activities.
How did you find getting started with printing at Image Science?
I was researching into papers that were sustainable and also papers that are commonly used in Japan. My project Seasonal Abandonment Of Imaginary Worlds was shot in Japan, so I wanted to use materials that complimented the project. Bamboo is a material used to make many things in Japan. It is also a sustainable material. It’s organic, warm texture was perfect and I found it at Image Science!
I am currently experimenting with prints of the playground series being folded and unfolded origami objects. Through this experimental process I am relating the spacial circumstances of the playground collection, to visible creases in an origami like structure of spacetime folding, unfolding and refolding as part of the life cycle of the landscape.
Philosopher, Giles Deleuze and Psychiatrist, Felix Guattari’s spacetime theory is mentioned in the academic paper “World City Topologies” by Richard G Smith. The paper explains that “Deleuze can help us conceptualise world city topologies because he gave much thought to the idea of space-time as folded. For Deleuze and Guattari, the philosophy of time space is akin to the Japanese art of Origami – folding, unfolding and refolding”.
I am using this same philosophy of space time to understand the abandoned, temporal space of the playgrounds. The book release of Seasonal Abandonment Of Imaginary Worlds, which is published through Editions Publishing, is a limited edition of 500 books. There will be 25 special editions and these books will include an origami playground print inside the cover. The origami object may be kept folded or unfolded to reveal the print, embracing the creases and folds.
Here is the link to preorder the book.