Armelle Canitrot, Variability
From the monography Corinne Mercadier, Filigranes Editions, 2007
This is why, when coming to look for her “interior” locations, she explores the nooks and crannies of those houses in Bages that recall childhood games of hide and seek. For these she again uses the Polaroid, whose square frame, grain, fragility and variable colours allowed her to invent a new kind of relation to time and space in her early works. The Polaroid SX70 and its professional film, number 778, more vividly known as “Time-Zero Color Instant Film.” The name seems to predict the countdown and the race against time that the photographer has embarked on, in spite of herself. For every time she uses another can, a sticker reminds her that this “Product being discontinued, available while supplies last” will soon be no more than a memory.
But for these Intérieurs she can still look to this film for a way of translating her vision of the world, a bit like Walker Evans, who also saw the Polaroid SX70 as an opportunity to work in colour while freeing himself of an excessive fidelity to reality. For it was the advent of this camera that led the master of black and white to override his own strictures against colour, which he considered vulgar, and finally experiment with it in the last three years of his life. Thus, Mercadier’s interior explorations, as she dwells on a bedhead, clothes on hangers, the pattern of a chair, bring to mind the spirit of those Polaroids by Evans, notably Untitled ( Clothes on a Chair ), while her images of houses in Ayrolles are close to the poetic atmosphere of Untitled ( Abandoned House ) and Building Shell , which Evans photographed in 1973 and 1974. The vocabulary elaborated by Mercadier – close-ups on a bit of wall, a ceiling light, a coat hanger, a mirror – also recalls the cutaway shots in the films of David Lynch, who, as we know, was influenced by the photos of the American “colourist” William Eggleston.