IN)ABSENTIA in one of its many ‘senses’ relocates and reinterprets the past by pushing (or pulling) it almost violently, crudely, into the stained and templated derangement and haunted exile of the present. Photographed in Bangkok one night on one roll of film of solely one particular man in 1995, as a fragmentary part of the book’s introduction (and in way of context) Olivier Pin-Fat writes:
This momento mori. This fallen man.
Breaking his form again to fit-in.
After photographing ‘crashed man’ I don’t remember anything else of that night. I shot 37 frames of him just outside the bar I’d been in. I processed that roll weeks if not months later, I forget exactly, but it would have been with a batch of other film so I could do them all in one intensive soup-session. I printed a contact sheet, put the negatives together with this in a brown envelope and unthinkingly labelled it ‘the fallen man-95’ without paying it much attention. I stored it somewhere and forgot about it for years, for decades. It was only in late 2019 I decided to print the entire roll unedited for the very first time in my darkroom, frame by solitary frame all in stark strange sequence. Frame 1 to 36 plus the extra one at the end of the roll. An ‘anti-edit’. An edit to have no edit. All inclusive. I’d been subliminally thinking about and looking at this contact sheet on and off for a few years & utilising the entire corroding & chemical stained 8” X 10” print on occasion as a singular integral piece for a few disembodied projects along with other works by me, for Brussels, Athens and so on, but never with a singular focus specifically on singular prints made from each and every singular frame of that one crashed man on that one weird and singularly crashed night. 25 years later. He was raw.”
Presented unbound (but folded) in large format as an unbroken stream of offset printed diptychs on heavy matte paper and with a prodigious text - In Media Espiritu - by Brad Feuerhelm, IN)ABSENTIA comes in a small edition of 185 copies only and a special collectors edition of 15 copies. The book is housed in heavy card (black and/or pink) screen printed folders.
Meat’ is primarily about Body-Form, deformation, the flesh, the carnal. How all matter decays, transforms itself from one form to another and ultimately disintegrates into ash. Stacks of bone shards and ash, the human remains after cremation, appear like hotel pillows ready for laundry on a factory line in the morning. Biographies exist, momentarily, within slabs of frying flesh like gristle, fat, nerve or bone whilst the landscape looms outside, this endless city, ever present, howling like a beast to chew you up and spit you out disfigured once more, or swallow you up completely once you emerge from this illusory sanctuary.
“She spoke to me through gums. When she was born a boy, her German father had already flown back to Europe just like you would close a brothel door. Her past was a diffusion of buzzing neon lit hospital wards, operating theatres, and red light; I was surprised to see she had no penis, most of the lady boys I’d been with and photographed had dicks. She’d gone the whole way. She told me aside from all of the surgery she received and underwent to slowly over the years become a woman, that she’d been in three serious car accidents. It showed.
If you flicked through it all rapidly like you would a full deck of playing cards, the sound would be the same, a sharp shocking snap. Any card you randomly pull out, a slab of meat.”
Olivier Pin-Fat's practice is all about the physicality of the materials he uses. Manipulating the films before and after the darkroom, in the end he prints what he feasibly can, what is “given” to him by his process.
As he puts it: “The scratches on the negatives are random, they’re not forced or designed, it’s not artifice, it comes from when I hang wet film and stroke the negatives all the way down in a streak with two fingers to get excess water off for more effective drying after a painfully rigorous developing process for the emulsions.”
Those “broken” photos suit perfectly this ‘Bangkok’ series, a city that according to Pin-Fat “it’s frayed, it’s choked, it’s bestial, it’s repetitive, it’s looped, it’s endless, it’s addictive, you smoke it and it smokes you, it’s an animal trap, it’s compelling chaos, it’s bait, it’s hunter, it’s life and it’s doom, it’s all teeth and jowls – a place to get lost in and in so doing have segments or steaks of meat bitten and torn out of you forever, or if not pieces, then your entirety.”
“The series is a culmination and liquidized assemblage, a collage or layering of all of these processes. It’s not an accident waiting to happen, it’s a gathering of the detritus and a collecting of the remains from a crash that’s already occurred.”
"Meat" consists of 28 signatures printed in 6 different printing techniques: Offset, Silkscreen, Letterpress, Photocopy, Digital printing, Risograph, using 8 different paper stocks.
Each copy of "Meat" will be painfully hand-bound by Void. Each copy will be unique: dated and signed by the person who produced it. Edition of 230 handmade copies.
A selection of photobooks by American photographers, alongside a number of titles focusing on the United States. Image: Mark Steinmetz - South East