Mélissa Mérinos, artiste in residence

Residency Bubahof / MeetFactory

01.07 — 30.09.2019

A first photography workshop in a prison was the trigger. Facing the vulnerability of the excluded invisible persons and their terrible life conditions raised the first questions about my ways of action as an artist. Since then by next workshops in detention centers, a militant reflection began to grow up. The next step was when I went to the camp of Calais in north of France. A refugee’s savage camp placed in a former public garbage dump chosen by Prefecture to achieve, out of sights, its task of “hospitality”. As the first reaction, I moved there in order to be in the real condition, to see more precisely, to realize what is going on, to understand and, maybe to help a bit. Later, the need to archive came and confirmed a new language through the photography and writing. It’s also a part of development of the field practice, as the French art critic, J.F. Chevrier, speaks about. My new encounter with the people, and, the bitter situation at the other European borders, led me to realize my exchange year in Istanbul, Turkey. I moved there with my cameras, with the idea of being witness to the worrying situation (“a state of siege”, according to the medias), which was influenced directly from the stories of the Calais’s comers. The documentary’s forms in my work and the tricky border with photojournalism arrived during that experiences.
From the fiction to the claim of my subjectivity, which is passing by the position statement, I feel the responsibility to catch the freedom of expression to complicate the reality by the plurality points of view. It’s always easier to analyze one image of a situation or a place (usually given by the mass medias); but analyzing the paradoxical points of view of the same situation demands more efforts. When I take a picture, or draw what I’m seeing, I always try to remember that I’m not looking for the thruth, and it’s a big difference with the journalistic goals. I want to ask questions, not to answer them. This is what I saw, what I felt, and there are the truth, as much as the people who lives these situations.
The field practice is as important as the artistic practice. The opportunity of close observations, meeting people, talking and drinking coffee together, sharing the time, waiting and waiting a lot with them in order to understand everything well, is what I’m always looking for. Time is very important in my work. As I need to be here, to be integrated and to have the opportunity of watching what actually is going on; with the considering slowness’s apology against the speed of capitalist rhythm!

Czech Republic occupies a special geographical position in Europe and is part of the Visegrád group with Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, which refuses in particular the refugee reception quotas imposed by Brussels. This first quick research is a thread that I would like to pull throughout the residency.

M.M., April 2019

Education

2013 – Bachelor in Cultural Mediation at Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris (FR)
2018 – Master in Art at the Fine Art School ésam Caen/Cherbourg, Caen (FR)

 

Exhibitions

2019 – Lande: the Calais ‘Jungle’ and Beyond, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK
2019 – Impossible n’est rien, Normandy Regional Council, Rouen, France
2016 – 26th International Istanbul Art Fair, Tüyap, Istanbul, Turkey

In partnership with MeetFactory and Esam Caen/Cherbourg