By: Camila Vásconez
The aspects that make art and photography stand out are not just beauty and stability. The ability to show a darker side to the mind or creating something that breaks the typical and safe aesthetics of the industry is what allows art to break through. Marwane Pallas, a French photographer, embraces a deeper sense of perspective, in a constant pull of expression and sentiment.
I’m a freshly 22 year old French man. My first name is Arabic because my mother is from Morocco. I was raised in a working class family in the countryside. I was quite introverted. I showed an interest in arts at a very young age. I drew and painted even if I rarely finished an artwork. I learned thanks to history books with Renaissance paintings and ancient statues. I drew Greek god nudes before I became a teenager. My parents always encouraged all of their three children to pursue their passion even though they did not converge with their own interests. They’re very open minded but also tasteful. I’m very grateful to them for that. I never wanted to be an artist because I was doing very well at school. I saw that as an opportunity to climb the social ladder. I didn’t want to be a poor and struggling artist when I grew up. I was taught some pages of history of arts by a neighbor friend. However she did not tell me about contemporary arts so I had no idea artists could be rich AND actually alive at the same time. I always thought you had to die first after a life of poverty and trouble to achieve something to succeed as an artist and that « Picasso was the exception ». I entered a Preparatory class for the French Grand Ecole after high school to study economics and management. I entered a prestigious school and as a present from me to me I bought a DSRL, it was in June 2011. I was already attracted to photography as I thought it was a good way to finally produce « finished artworks » in a record time. That’s when I fell in love with photography. I shot my first series in August of the same year.
I’m currently studying to get a Master degree while working in a French bank headquarters as an apprentice. I do enjoy studying economics and history. Now my master is mainly focused on business.
Besides art, what do you enjoy doing? What are other hobbies or passions you have?
What is your strongest belief (philosophical/religious)?
I don’t believe in anything. I think there are either truths that don’t need the support of faith and false claims that should not be regarded.
I like economics. It’s an inaccurate science; enough to be both interesting and funny. It’s all about human behavior, analyzed by the most trivial mathematics tools, but as they fail to explain an economy, we have to take into account the senseless part of human actions. It’s a strange mixture.
Many would consider your art to be controversial, an art that pushes boundaries and breaks the mold. Why such strong ideals and motifs?
Some of my artwork may be controversial but certainly not my whole body of work. I don’t seek controversy. Anyway, my work that received some « hot » feedback still looked cold compared to what contemporary arts have been producing for decades before me. Shocking is not a goal of mine. I have a raw approach to society and religion and politics etc… Because I’m young I don’t go in to subtleties. My art either fits or breaks a mold. My only motif is my signification. Meaning decides for everything and leads my process. It forces me to use certain techniques, to compose my image a certain way etc… It doesn’t care if the result will be controversial or not it can‘t judge for that.
Is there a message you want to transmit in every piece of yours?
Yes. The piece itself wouldn’t exist without the message. I don’t work a posteriori. I don’t take pretty pictures and try justifying them by a farfetched symbolism. My work is definitely explicit that I never thought useful to write an artist statement until today.
Your work can be both dream-like as it can be uncanny yet attractive, why do you feel it’s important to portray such strong imagery?
You’re only as good as the souvenir left in the mind of the viewer. A movie can stay inside your mind for days or years haunt you, inspire you. And what about songs! But photos? Photography is less impacting. Rare are the people who have been as moved by a photo as much as they have been moved by cinema. It’s one of the subjects of my latest series « Pull » where I challenge the impact of photography on the viewer.
Many of your pieces include nature as your space; what’s your connection with it? What’s the meaning behind its frequency?
The last time I shot a whole series in nature was one year ago almost. I mainly focus on studio photography now (my 3 latest series). I like how timeless nature is, and I’m very inspired by 19th century Paintings. Paul Cézanne said that paintings done outside were necessarily better than those painted inside; Of course I disagree but nature is can be a beautiful virgin canvas. However, I think my main subjects have always been humans.
Do you rather be the subject or the one behind cameras?
When I’m behind the camera I’m somehow always in front too as my work is very personal, either I shoot myself or a model ; I’m not interested in modeling for others obviously.
How long does the making process take all the way from idealizing to editing the pictures?
My imagination and process don’t obey to any low and schedule so of course I don’t have an answer to that question. All my photos require different preparation, shooting and post-process.
Are there any other fields of arts or beyond that you’re interested on getting into?
I wish I could make music. I’m interested in working with singers to build visual universes around their music. I’d like to try fashion as well, but still as a photographer. I’m a business executive so I can’t do everything, I need to stick to one thing I only have one brain and two hands.
What’s next for Marwane Pallas? (This is a broad question so interpret is as it fits you – it can relate to both your art and/or life.)
Visit http://www.marwanepallas.com/ for more of his work.