In Maria Baoli’s series, linearity is constantly broken up. The stories she tells are diffracted; space and time overlap; images are shot through with cracks and scratches like broken mirrors. Although it is clear that the photographer is attached to human situations, to stories and environments charged with life and memories, these devices make us focus on the stylistic elements of the images and stimulate an open and complex interpretation of them. This is particularly true for one of her most recent projects, Chez moi loin de chez moi [At Home Far Away From Home], which explores the Maison Africaine in Brussels, a community home for students.
Maria Baoli’s images are balanced between the depth of their intention (archive, memory, time, love, dreams, etc.) and the surface. This plays a primordial role and in so doing forms a highly personal (and unique) response from the artist to the contemporary use of the snapshot.
Through an uninhibited use of flash, which flattens shadows and adds drama to the composition even in the most mundane and stripped-down environments; through her preference for the close-up or dense landscapes that block the horizon; through the frontality of her perspective; through her use of collage, which disrupts the documentary by introducing a fascinating graphic dimension, Maria Baoli relies on the figures of discontinuity that she turns into loyal servants of reality.
Text by Anne-Françoise Lesuisse