Eric Bottero

The artist Eric Bottero was born in Paris in 1968. He lives and works in Paris.
Eric Bottero explores the possibilities of photography drawn in negative color. Praise of the shadow, unreal incandescences, chiaroscuro mastered: the visual impact is powerful and the obvious elegance of its photos unveils from the outset an undeniable aesthetic concern.The mysterious beauty of its images in large format impresses and seduces in first place.
But below the preciousness of black and gold, an X-ray of the invisible is revealed. In his portraits, the photographer seeks above all to capture internal resonances, another "image of self" of which we do not know anything. "I photograph what people do not even imagine to be," he says. From these "dematerialized" bodies and faces seems to emanate a second, enigmatic presence, a striking aura. However, the artist does not claim to make emerge from an obscure face of reality some "truth" of being. But his photographs suggest the power, in his "perseverance to be" and in this sort of prefiguration of the superhumanity that predicted Nietzsche, when, unexpectedly, a "Zeus" or a "Buddha" arise negative.

Freely inspired by the iconic representations that cross cultures and religions, his works bear a strongly allegorical dimension.
"Ethno mental", the first part of his "esoteric trilogy", evokes the symbols of life, death and passage. Thus the diptych "Kusanagi" which, in a representation at once primitive and futuristic of a fertile Venus, evokes the perpetuation of life, fertility and renewal. Or, in a decidedly dualistic perspective, the installation "De Profundis", addressing the separation of the body, perishable matter, and spirit.

The strength, the magic and the ambiguity of Bottero's work lies in this paradox: to photograph the body to track down in it what in essence is invisible, the soul, or the spirit. However, there is nothing in Eric Bottero's approach that is openly religious. Rather a veiled taste for mysticism, questions constantly reactivated, a limitless curiosity for life.

When in "Immortality", he works around masks, it is not so many African masks that it is, but a reflection on civilization, on creative energy transcending continents and centuries , on the renewal and appropriation of symbols and their meaning. The mask, universally widespread archetype, holds both sacred and secular, social and intimate, initiation and passage, identity and otherness ...
The mask, it is also the make-up of which it coats its models before photographing them, in an abyss of the show / hide. To reveal a face other than the visible, one must first cover one's own. Rite of ancestral initiation that passes, without knowing maybe, the models of the photographs of Eric Bottero.
It would be reductive, however, to define his work as that of a Western artist seduced by African aesthetics. There is only a community of spirit, in this desire to go to the essential, as the resurgence of ancient and eternal truths under appearances.

All the work of Eric Bottero is traversed by this dialectic, these incessant trips back and forth between distant past and indeterminate future, as if the artist was trying to uncover an archeology of becoming. As if time had to find in the origins of the answers for the future.

Marie Deparis.

Eric Bottero, photograph, on Afikaris