Mouths gourmand of colors
And the kisses that draw them
Flame leaf water languishing
A wing keep them in its palm
A laugh spill them.

(Paul Eluard)

When entering the Miranda Gallery located in the 10th district in Paris, the eye is stimulated by a chromatic grid pattern as an abstract mosaic composed by sparkling stones distractedly cut : an installation of a series of photograms like bright disparate slivers of colors, the Zerograms of Ellen Carey, presented to the public for the first time.

Remember, the photograms, assimilated to the surrealism, are those pictures made without camera obscura, with the help of objects of various nature disposed directly on the photosensitive paper and then exposed to the light. From this technique, Ellen Carey, pioneer in the research of minimalist abstraction, made an experimental process – only executed in darkroom – of light extrapolation as the color-source.

The light perceived by the human eye is composed by electromagnetic waves, the length of which varies between 400nm (observed as blue, purple) and 800nm (observed as dark red) and from which the classical chromatic spectral : blue, green, red, yellow, orange to which the eye is perceptive, is spreading. When all of those waves are added, they are perceived as a white light, on the other hand, as soon as those waves are broken down through a prism, like rain drops in the sunrise, they appear disctintly just like the rainbow.

Based on this physical principle and the colorimetry basic theories (additive synthesis and subtractive synthesis) between 1992 and now, Ellen Carrey accomplished a long experimental work intitled « Struck by light » making the color the immanent object of her photograms. This way the rupture with her predecessors is taken up by the absence of representative, narrative, mediator object. The abstraction is applied on the « degree 0 » like a pure performance between paper, obscurity, her technique and a dose of chance at the light exposure. The choice of the name « Zerogram » is far from being anecdotal : it is the proper statement of an historical evolution of the process.

This drive of making the physical and chemical experience the main subject, of creating a degree zero of the photography, also frees itself from the sacred codes of photography like the one concerning the screen support that is the analogue paper. Usually smooth and intouchable, it is, this time, the major f-actor of the pictoral composition because it is methodically creased in such a way as to refract the different colors like a disco-rectangle.

Those that she symbolically named « mirrors of chance » are the prints of the observation of the phenomenon invisible to the naked eye : an aesthetic dialogue between science and the unexplainable, real and imaginary, as many windows to possible plurality, like invitations to rapture.

Light candies, paper diamonds or asymetrical kaleidoscopes, such Zerograms have a definite communal quality : indomitability ! as testifies her daring and avant-gardiste carreer. Previous works are in fact exposed in the gallery to point out her different ways and comitments, among them two Pulls : Pulls with Filigree (2004) and Pull with Red Rollback (2006) made from the 20x24 Polaroid as well as scars from the pulled off contact between the light and the shadow, and three Monochromes also due to an empirical process from the photographic matter.

Must see rendez-vous, the Mirrors of Chance by Ellen Carey are full of a solar promise, an ode to the radiance, like brilliant jewelery to be contemplated with grace.

Translation by Alice Bauer