"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
In the contemporary art trend, my use of the cyanotype process is rather unusual, since it is more plastic than photographic.
The process is slow and sophisticated. From the original idea to the final artwork, there are many procedures to respect and as many steps which cannot be bypassed or sped up, otherwise the results would be uneven. From the preparation of the paper to the final development, there are at least a dozen essential steps. The cyanotype process is demanding and cannot stand being approximative as with many alternative processes.
Whereas in photographic prints, the image is encapsulated in a protective layer of glossy gum, cyanotype is directly printed in the fibers of the paper. As a result, it appears matte and quite velvety rather than glossy. The look and feel is very sensual. The object becomes as important as the image it displays.
One of the main characteristics of cyanotype is that it is archival. A cyanotype print almost never alters (in adequate conditions of storage) and can resist the effects of time impressively. 150-year-old prints are found today in an almost unaltered state. Paradoxically, cyanotype is “alive” and evolves slowly depending on various factors, a surprising phenomenon which inspires me greatly…
“What will remain of contemporary art in a few centuries
if no one takes the time to think about how they are elaborated anymore ?”
I am working solely with cotton rag paper or quality Asian paper made of mulberry wood pulp. It is chemical-free and without any additives, which ensures their permanence. Likewise, I take the time to prepare my own cyanotype emulsion.
Cyanotype kits and ready-to-use sensitive paper sheets are available today, but there is no way to know how they are produced, so that one cannot control anything anymore. We have no idea how the works made with those kits are going to evolve in the coming years, and that is frightening.
As to me, I refuse, on ethical grounds, to use any of them. It would go against my intention to master the creative process and offer long-lasting artworks. Only these imperatives allow me to be responsible for my work.
“From the artist to the craftsman,
only work, patience and method shape the reality of a creation process.”