Arles 2012: Olivier Cablat
Compression, Der El Medina, 2004 © Olivier Cablat
Elevation, Karnak, 2004 © Olivier Cablat
Figure 0020, Carte d'Egypte © Olivier Cablat
Fig 84, Objet en voie de disparition © Olivier Cablat
Fig 2014, Perspectives alimentaires © Olivier Cablat
Fig 3615, Etendard © Olivier Cablat
Guide, Karnak, 2004 © Olivier Cablat
Temple, Assouan, 2004 © Olivier Cablat
Temple, Gourna, 2004 © Olivier Cablat
Welcome, Gourna, 2004 © Olivier Cablat
Olivier Cablat - ENSP 2003
The Egypt 3000 project deals with the complex relationship between contemporary Egypt and its glorious past. The project started to take shape between October 2003 and June 2004, when I was working on a CNRS programme in Karnak, in the south of Egypt. The programme mainly consisted in identifying and photographing objects found in the course of archaeological digs. It also involved taking reportage shots of the various excavation and restoration activities going on around the Temple of Amun, as well as making complex digital montages to reconstitute the walls of the temple to serve as a study tool for the Egyptologists.
In parallel with this work, I was collecting a lot of images of everyday Egyptian objects, and these allowed me to continue with some artistic research that I had been working on earlier in the South of France.
My initial intention in the Egypt 3000 project was to base things on raw material from everyday life in contemporary Egypt, making no hierarchical judgements about its nature, and to apply the same treatment to it as scientific research does for ancient artefacts.
The project came together over a number of years, during and after my trips. These were years of construction, re-composition, and a search for a documentary form free of the systematic quality of a series and without the condescending aspect of typical “travel photography”.
The project ended up as three distinct sets: Towards a Contemporary Archaeology, Karnak/Luxor, 2004-2009 – these are reproductions of the objects found in Karnak and Luxor and they are given the same scientific treatment as ancient objects; secondly, 300 days and a day, 2003-2011, which is a documentary series relating 300 days of documentary research and containing a blend of typological series and complex digital photo-montages with post-Orientalist references; and thirdly, Enter the pyramid, 2006-2012, a digital documentary installation composed in HTML with a set of images found on the Internet using the keyword “pyramid”.
Born in 1978 in Marignane. Lives and works in Arles. A many-faceted maker of photographs, Olivier Cablat is as much attracted to commercial zones built along the lines of Las Vegas as to all the waste matter that issues more or less directly from them: cheap discs, statuettes, portraits of Colonel Gaddafi, etc. Using a documentary style, the better perhaps to emphasise the ambiguous nature of the relationship between photography and reality, he seems to be constructing a monumental oeuvre that endlessly questions the descriptive character of the images – a body of work that might be intended for ethnologists of the future, but for whom he complicates the task by constantly re-writing the interpretive rules. After graduation from the ESBAM, Marseille, in 2000 he gained a post-graduate diploma at the ENSP, Arles, in 2003. He then worked as a documentary photographer for the CNRS in Egypt. Since 2004, he has been a regular tutor in digital image-making at the ENSP, Arles. He was the founder of the gallery and publishing house 2600, and is an active participant in the development of self-publishing and self-production systems for artists of the digital generation.