Carine Thévenau is a Mauritian/Australian photographer, currently based in Sydney, Australia. Thévenau's work is expressed through portraiture of the individual, but also broader portraits of place, space and time.
Thévenau's portraiture is explored through the female gaze, as she seeks to reveal the internal landscapes of her subjects, whether it be an individual, an object or a place. Her portraits often document a domestic space, but also public spaces such as playgrounds and other urban spaces. Her practice considers the relationship between the natural world and the built environment. She understands this tension as exposing much about who we are, as a society.
Thévenau's photography particularly celebrates the beauty of ageing materials, including materials marked with the residue of human interaction, as well as those affected by natural environmental decay. Thévenau champions these materials capabilities for reuse and repair, as their extended lifespan contributes to ecological sustainability.
Thévenau is passionate about the conservation of the natural environment and supports sustainable practices within the arts and beyond. She consistently experiments with ethical materials within her own visual arts practice and her most recent exhibitions have included the use of plant-based papers such as bamboo, rice and Japanese washi paper.
She has recently acquired a Master of Fine Art Degree (Major in Photomedia) from the University of New South Wales, Art and Design, and has exhibited in solo and group shows in Los Angeles, Berlin, Rotterdam, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
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Seasonal Abandonment of Imaginary Worlds
Seasonal Abandonment of Imaginary Worlds is a photographic collection of Japanese playgrounds, captured by photographer Carine Thévenau, in rural Japan. The playscapes are either abandoned or empty due to seasonal snowfall, but the absence of life creates a space, ideal for the imagination. Although the playgrounds may arouse a nostalgic sensation, a more critical analysis reveals a portrait of place and offers us a glimpse of a spacetime in suspension, yet actively in motion.
The series explores urban spatial narratives and “Ma”, the Japanese word for absence through space and time. There is no specific translation in English for the word “Ma”, however it could refer to the space inbetween, where life and emotion can exist. Thévenau interprets the emptiness, the “ma”, within the playgrounds as a silence or tension, akin to the pause in a music score or the interval of a theatrical play; what came before, what is there now and what comes afterwards? The abandoned playgrounds, as they appear in the photographs, are the residue of an aging Japanese population, yet hint towards the rising Satori ‘Enlightened’ Generation who value vintage over shiny new designer goods and a slower pace of life.
The playgrounds embody economic shifts and Japanese cultural philosophies towards nature, respect, waste and sustainability, as the playgrounds pictured here, which are part of a longer life cycle than the playgrounds of the West. Each swing and slide appears to be gracefully decaying. There is no graffiti or damage to the playgrounds, allowing the possibility of further interaction. Thévenau describes the neglected play spaces as creases in an origami-like structure of spacetime, actively folding into new time frames and thus forming new landscapes.
Publisher: Carine Thévenau
Artist(s): Carine Thévenau
Publication Date: 2018
Binding: Hardcover with natural cloth spine
Dimensions: 21 x 26 cm
Price: 50 AUD
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