UnderCover Skies X Céline Hamelin

UnderCover Skies X Céline Hamelin

“Undercover Skies” is a collaborative exhibition with the french photographer Céline Hamelin. Our exhibition was held in December 2016 at the Helder Supply Store Biarritz.

To explain the process of our collaboration, these are some extracts of the interview we did together for Huck Magazine.

.She returned to her hometown of Hossegor, France with beautiful film photos of the harsh winter landscape, and even a new tattoo to remind her of the experience. So, when Céline bumped into her friend self-taught illustrator and visual artist Agathe Toman at a party she couldn’t help but show her the photos. Working in biro, graphite or acrylic paint, Agathe’s monochromatic work is characterised by its exploration of the color black. “I thought she might be interested to see [the pictures] because of this kind of dark side,” Céline says.

.She was right. Agathe was naturally drawn to the dark haunting nature of Céline’s images, and even though the friends had never before thought of bringing their different disciplines together, they immediately began to explore the idea of Agathe drawing over the film photos that Céline had taken. The collaboration eventually sprang to life as the Undercover Skies exhibition.

.(…) That said, film photos meant a slight change of approach. “It really changed the way I work. First of all, the paper is different so the shades of the black and how the ink is absorbed by the paper is very different than on the drawings I do usually,” Agathe tells me. “The second thing was that drawing on a picture means you need to adapt your imagination and what you plan to do to create a beautiful harmony between two opposites.”

.However, it was the contrasting qualities of photography and illustration that drove the friends to start the project. “That is what I had in mind for this exhibition. How two opposites balance each other in a more amazing way than two similar things which would cohabit,” Agathe explains. “To the viewer I think it creates a new vision of a classic landscape that suddenly becomes surrealistic and triggers their imagination and unconscious part of the brain.”

.It’s this otherworldly, three-dimensional quality of Céline’s film photos that Agathe’s illustrations harness – and enhance. It becomes easy to forget where the photo ends and the illustration begins, with the drawing offering a subtle footnote to the wintry forests and breathtaking giant Sequoia trees.