carolle benitah

To begin, I carry out excavations. Like an archeologist, I dig out from the family albums and the shoeboxes full of photographs, the pictures that represented me. I choose snapshots because they are related to memories and to loss. I order them, classify them, scan them, sometimes I crop them, then I print them. Once all these elements are combined, the work of interpretation comes up. I turn my attention to my own history, sometimes with 30 years of distance and the experiences of real life that change the perception of events. The past of a human being, unlike the remains of an antique temple, is neither permanent nor finished but recontructed in the present time. With this objective, I’m using needlework: embroidery and beads. Embroidery is a specific feminine activity. In the past, the embroiderer was a paragon of virtue. Waiting was tied to this activity: women embroidered, hoping for the return of the man to the home. There is nothing subversive to this activity, but I pervert it with my words. I use its decorative function to re-interpret my own history and to expose its failings. The two activities come together again in a kind of dispute: embroidery is the sign of a good education and the words that I speak don’t make me what I was supposed to be: a well behaved girl, a wise spouse and a loving mother. The beads chosen for their sheen and their fragility stress the decorative side and create a gap. I introduce a traditional gesture in this series and tie up again with my previous occupation as a fashion designer. The writing comes in too. It’s like a key to unlock the mystery. The sentences are thought or said, like an automatic writing. This precise and slow work is a metaphor for the work of making oneself and for the passage of time.

Images & Text: © Carolle Benitah


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Responses to “carolle benitah”

  1. steven scheermann April 29th, 2012 - 9:02 am

    Hi Carolle. Hope you’re well. I’m just showing some friends your fabulous photographs. PS. Doilies? Kindest Personal regards. Steven