Whether he walks the streets of a metropolis, industrial site, a train station, a naval port or airbase, Manolo is looking for metals and more particularly for aluminium which he photographs with conviction A childhood spent on a runways searching for his father in his Mirage fighter plane in the French Provence skies, inevitably leaves a trace in one’s life. Burning tarmac, the smell of kerosene, the waltz of aluminium monsters reverted together, the roaving of jet engines, post-combustion, traces of aerial combat, night flights, special missions…Manolo Chretien has grown up in this atmosphere. A universe which has developed his sensitivity and unconsciously revealing in his artistic approach. Thirty years later, his emotions have resurfaced through a series of painting and photographs where portraits of pilots attitudes and shots of aircrafts from another era live together. These grand birds, metal fire predators are new silent and pinned down to the ground by corrosion, sentenced to disappear.
The artist pays them the final tribute
Manolo Chretien is fascinated by our modern world in constant movement. Cars, planes, trains, cargos – we have created fantastic machines to accelerate time, but they might have superseded human beings. They have become an absolute necessity to execute any daily activity, their manufacturing is central to the economy, their possession is fundamental to political and military power. These metal objects are the prism of human ambition, the mirrors of our illusions.
Manolo Chretien’s photographies are images of these metal objects in which we like to contemplate our humanity. And using an innovative technique of print on aluminum, the artist makes his pictures metal objects too – through which we are invited to reflect on our destiny.
Manolo Chretien (b.1966) lives and works in Blois (France). He holds a degree in fine art from the prestigious Olivier de Serre art school in Paris. His work has been recognised by critics since 1998 with a first series of photographs on the theme of boats ‘Effets Mer’. In 2002, his series ‘Juste-Ciel’ has been a broad success, followed in 2007 by ‘New York Citillusions’. Manolo Chretien has been exhibited by numerous galleries in France, Germany, China,the UK and The Netherlands.