By Sylvain Campeau
Bertrand Carrière has had a long relationship with the ﬁlm world. Before establishing himself as an artist, he took many pictures as a soundstage photographer. But such images must not be seen solely as the result of a professional practice that imposed frameworks and constraints on the creation of images. On the fringes of this practice, he chose to make portraits of ﬁlmmakers and even to go, almost as pure gawker, to ﬁlm sets to feed his hunger for images. Many examples of this endeavour adorn the walls of Salle Luce-Guilbeault, at the Cinémathèque québécoise1, in what forms a sort of waiting room and lobby for the movie theatres. We ﬁnd among these images, produced on the outskirts of movie shoots, Jean-Luc Godard, Jane Birkin, Pierre Falardeau, and Sami Frey.
It is, rather, in Les Images-temps, a series produced from 1997 to 2000, that we must ﬁnd a reference and a precedent for what Carrière decided to do when invited to a residency at the Cinémathèque. Like others before him, he went to explore the institution’s archives, seeking images and movies that would move and inspire him. His eye fell ﬁrst on ﬁlm noir, a genre that features the desperate hero, stuck in tricky situations whose stakes he cannot always know. Perhaps it was the ambiences – the chiaroscuros, the expressionist lighting, the constrained spaces in which the protagonists moved – that attracted Carrière. The ﬁrst section of his exhibition, in Salle MacLaren, is devoted to them. It is true that there is something intensely photographic in these productions. And so, in Images-noires, there appear images from iconic movies: The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941), On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954), North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), and The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949). What is unusual, though, and refers us back to Les Images-temps, in which Carrière exploited the same technique, is that they are sometimes shown not as single frames taken from the plot of the movie but as extended excerpts, showing the movie itself, with the images succeeding each other…
Translated by Käthe Roth
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