Aug 10, 2012

ANATHEMA ANATOMICA | Inside the mind of Vincent Mallea

An Interview by Stephanie Anderson

Nestled within the heady atmosphere of Barri Gótic, a place of unique and surprising architecture, with many quaint passages, lies Galeria Atrevistas. As I entered, a woman had just finished hanging the last painting of Mallea’s exhibition. Inside the Galeria, I had the chance to meet the artist himself. To remind you, Vincent Mallea is a French Contemporary Photographer specialising in a series of anatomical portraits and digital colourisation. He was an intriguing person to converse with and we had a lovely chat in a nearby café to talk about his story so far.

How did you first become interested in photography and where did you learn it?
Where did I learn photography? I made my first experiences in a lab when I was studying in a Cinema School in Nice. I didn't do the whole course, but in the first year there was a black and white lab where I made my first pictures and I immediately fell in love with the magic of seeing the picture appearing. It was an incredible moment. I felt really free to do anything. Being in the Cinema School, I discovered cinematography and learned many techniques like optic.
Why didn't you pursue cinematography or filming instead?
OK, I can tell you that, for me what I do now is just a step, and of course in my mind I hope to also do cinema and animation someday, but during the end of the year when I went to the cinema school, I directed a project and I had a team of 10 people and it was the 2 most horrible days of my life. Waiting for the cast to be ready and them turning up, it was very stressful especially as we finished shooting at 6:00 in the morning. After that, I thought to myself I will never do filming again until I’m older, much older and when I have learned more about filming. But I have created some mini animation movies on the internet to play around.

What was your first camera?
My first camera, I think it was my great-grandfather’s camera, a gift from him. The very first pictures I made, I think was when my family and I were in Scotland for the holidays when I was 12, but before that, I made my first collage when I was 9, something like that. Pictures that I cut in the magazines and replacing the heads with my head. Now that I look at it, it was really freaky because they are the bodies of superheroes like superman with a young boy’s head.
So, you were interested in art when you were 9?
I don’t think it was art, I think it’s more narcissism, but I have used the technique of collaging from that day onwards. Maybe when I’m more famous, I should exhibit all my work.
Do you remember when and where your very first exhibition was?
Oh yes, my first exhibition was in 2004 in a bar in Paris next to my apartment. The exhibition was called ‘Collage Vernie’, which was the name of the technique. At that time my collages weren't on canvases, but instead on cardboards. I don’t really remember how it happened or how I suddenly had the courage to say to myself I want to have an exhibition. I don’t remember what was going on with my mind at that time; but it happened. That year was good for me because it was the year where I really found the technique I wanted; the collage, colourisation, posturizing picture process. It went well, I had a lot of friends to support me and I had really good feedback. After that, I've been working non-stop.
Moving on to your current exhibition, how would you describe it?
I've always been interested in anatomy, I usually find them really beautiful. Disturbing, but beautiful. When it began 1 year ago, the idea of working on the anatomy about myself to rid of my narcissism by expressing it. I will still be taking pictures of myself in my future work, but I want it to be less obsessive, by the way I look or how I should look like for myself or for the society.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
I get it from everyday life. I have several thematic series. For example if I’m inspired by the colour pink, I make a whole series about it. But if I work with models, I try to see myself in them. There has to be a connection, I have to feel that the model wants to be photographed by me and be sure to understand who I am and what I want.
How would you categorise your style?
The techniques I use today have been perfected over almost 10 years. Each time, I add more and more interesting layers. My style is my style, my own way of thinking, the way I interact with the world and how I see it. I have a really strange imagination, I put a lot of personality in my work, and it’s not my strategy to find a style. It’s more my spirit more than style. The way I see, or the way I want to see the world, the sensations and the souvenirs I want to keep of the world. Because every time I wake up, I see the world of what it really looks like. I want to put more colours, more life and vibrancies to exaggerate the world more in my artwork, a more perfect world.
What do you think is your best work so far?
The work I’m more proud, I think is… my series called French Riviera which I exhibited 3 times between 2005 and 2007. I’m really proud of this work and it’s very dear to me as it’s a collection of my region where I was born and grew up. The collection contains fun, nostalgia, tenderness, poetry. It was a really a beautiful thing.
Lastly, are you excited for your opening night this Friday?
Yes I’m excited for opening night, because obviously this work is a bit violent in a way. People can feel violent in some work, because in anatomic topics it’s like telling to people remember you will die someday. There are quite a lot people who don’t want to hear that, and I understand that because no one wants to die. But it’s good to sometimes to just remember this, even for just a slight moment.

I also had a chance to ask some viewers of what they think about Mallea's artwork.
Where are you from? Italy
How did you find out about Vincent Mallea’s work? I've seen his works before and I really like them. When I saw that his work is coming to Barcelona, I felt lucky because I’m here too.
What do you think about his exhibition? It’s particular, negative but beautiful.
Do you have an artwork you like or the one that particularly stands out for you? This one with the brain, because it represents for me reality of the brain and how it works.
How did you find out about Vincent Mallea’s work? I’m with my friend Francisco on holiday; it’s my first time seeing his artwork.
What do you think about the work of the artist? It’s interesting, quite a lot of nakedness but showing the natural way of the body.
Which one of the artwork stands out for you? I also like the one with the brain, but also the hands. They are good and freaky. 
Thank you!
I would like to say ‘thank you’ to Vincent Mallea, for giving up the time to talk to me about his life and his work. I’d also like to thank him for the mini book which he kindly gave me. Last Friday the 3rd of August, was the awaiting opening night, below are a few photos where the audiences finally get to meet the man himself.

+ info about the exhibition ANATHEMA ANATOMICA
> see all the available works by Vincent Malléa

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