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Manish Arora Charles FREGER

Posters in the streets of Paris

You may like to see some of these posters made for Manish Arora, the Indian fashion designer. A good connection with Manish. This was fun to do.

And things are going on. The BRETONNES finished last sunday and two WILDER MANN shows are still going on. But the main thing is the book I’m working on: YOKAINOSHIMA! A Japanese title for a place which doesn’t not exist – An island of monsters. This large series has been my biggest collection after Wilder Mann where you’ll discover a real fantasmagoric Nippon bestiary. Soon, some images to watch online.

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WILDER MANN VS PREHISTORY

Exhibition of WILDER MANN at Pôle international de la Préhistoire
(see: Centre d’accueil du Pôle International de la Préhistoire , in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil , in Dordogne. The Perigord Noir is the place to visit for the Grotte de Lascaux , and all the museums connected to the research about prehistoric age, Homme de Néandertal, and Cro-Magnon.
This new international center of prehistory (See www.pole-prehistoire.com) invited me to show WILDER MANN, questionning the invention of composite creature in paleolithic age. It would be of course a too easy shortcut to imagine that our masquerade traditions in Europe may have started at that time. I’m very interested by the populare and educative imagery produced in the 19th and 20th century about the prehistoric time and its uncomplete and indadequate Evolutionary chain (where the Homme de Néandertal was described as a hairy savage and idiot creature). We now know that our homo sapiens NDA contains as well 5% of Neanderthal genes… Once again, the old cliché of the prehistoric man being savage is still contained in our post-colonial popular imagery (Ask to your children how they imagine the “caveman”).
Our WILDER MANN, still, could anyway be an evolution of this representation, thru our European masquerades and traditions of our “supposed to be savage” prehistoric ancestors.
While looking at the beauty and delicate Rock painting of Les Grottes De Lascaux Prehistoric Cave and the Grotte Chauvet (discovered only a few years ago. 30000 years old!), there’s a big doubt about which one between our civilized and modern man and the Cro-magnon man is finally the real “savage”. Let’s stay dry and objective and leave these discussions to scientists.
This summer, come to visit the Périgord and say hello to the WILDER MANN at the Pôle international de la Préhistoire. Come to read the text of Jean Clottes and the introduction of Catherine Clément. This transversality at least open some reflexions and I’m glad that WILDER MANN takes part of this and avoid certain mystifications.

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RENNES-GUINGAMPS-ST BRIEUC-PONT L’ABBE

BRETONNES exhibition Opening yesterday night at the Musée de Bretagne, Les Champs Libres, in Rennes. Opening of the show at the Musée Bigouden this friday evening. Opening tomorrow afternoon at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Saint Brieuc and at the photographic center GwinZegal in Guingamp.
Time to go back on the field work…

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The BRETONNES book is here!

Only a few days before the launching of the “Portraits in Lace, BRETON WOMEN” book with Thames & Hudson , and Actes Sud(titled “BRETONNES in French). We’ve recently received the first copies! And the book is beautifuly printed and binded. You’ll like the complete description by Yann Guesdon, the 3D sketches by Fred Margueron, the novel by Marie Darrieussecq . If you already own a copy of Wilder Mann, you’ll see that the book has been designed by Léo Favier with a very simi…
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ITZA’ on the site finally

The ITZA’ series (2004) is finaly on the website. The project was done in the context of a collaboration between the French CNRS and the University of Michigan. I was Invited by the scientist Scott Atran, Ximena Lois and Valentina Vapnarsky to go in the Petén, Guatemala, to produce a series of portraits of the last Maya Itza’ still speaking the traditional Itza’ language. At that time, only a few members of the community were still able to communicate in this language (which was the one of more than 3 millions mayas until the 17th century). The language, as everywhere, being one of the main tool to forward traditions and knowledges, stories, legends, agricultural customs and gestures… So the key was to perpetuate the ITZA’ language. This very narrative series took place in the book “ITZA’ ,Memorias mayas” published by the universidad nacional autonoma de Mexico. The book, written in 3 languages (ITZA’, Spanish and English) was produced in 2010 and is now used by the Bio Itza’ organization as a real tool and document which constitutes a part of the Maya memories.

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Back from Guiana

Back from Guyane. I’ve been very impressed by the BOBI, an authentic character of the Creole Carnival of Cayenne, South America. It’s the mythological evolution of a bear, coming straight from Europe, and its interpretation comes with a lot of fantasy. Indeed, the visual vocabulary of this elegant bobi is a mix of a bear , an elephant, or maybe a Dasypodidae (Armadillo). It’s anyway a similar figure as we can meet in Europe in our winter traditions. And in French Guiana, the symbol of the bobi may have another layer, coming from the colonial past of this French region of slavery. The BOBI, out of control, refuses the orders of his master and tries to escape. Originally, the Carnival was the exclusive right of the colonizers. Then, the slaves started their own clandestine masquerade. The BOBI is one of these funny figures which also has do to with the quest of freedom. And that’s a good point.

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Soon, the Bretonnes shows…

Soon the BRETONNES on the walls. Already three shows produced and the book on its way to be delivered in time, in may. You’d be lucky enough to find the first copies available, French or English in the end of may. Until that, the four museums showing the series are working actively on this event which is for the first time a collaboration of these four institutions. Discovering the Bretonnes series in its big sizes is really an achievement. For this series, the particular aspect of these photographs, coming from the particular background, and a short dept of field, connects the whole series to the pictorialism of Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Obscura. For sure, this work used the rich iconography of Nabis painters, Breton postcards, and various archetypes from a mythological Bretagne.

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Bretonnes!

Waiting for the spring! Good time to introduce the “Bretonnes” series. The book will come out in May with Thames & Hudson for its English version (Titled: Portraits in lace: Breton women) and in French with Actes Sud. Four shows will start in June in Bretagne, with the Musée des Champs Libres in Rennes, the photographic center GwinZegal in Guingamp, the Musée Bigouden in Pont l’Abbé and the Musée d’art et d’histoire de Saint-Brieuc. The series will take place in the four very different contexts of these museums where anthropology, ethnography, history, fashion and photography will connect together around the images. More soon!