This season, ICK wanted to mark the 25-year collaboration between Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten by addressing the theme of One Body (a term used in the choreographic work of Greco and Scholten to describe the effort to merge separate bodies by having them breathe and move as one) from the perspective of multiple artists. Damien Blottière, fashion editor turned visual artist, was asked to use that theme for ICK’s jubilee visuals. “My fascination with the dancing body stems from a need to understand through others what I do not understand about myself.”
Damien Blottière is a Paris based visual artist. He started his career as a fashion editor for magazines, before exclusively dedicating himself to the creation of images. After initially having experimented with painting and drawing, with the creation of collages made from material, paper or cardboard, and from photos collected in magazines, he took up photography himself. For him, photography is a medium through which to obtain the rough materials which he can use to compose images. Thus, he does not consider himself to be a photographer, but rather a visual artist whose work is image composition.
Clifford Portier, both costume designer and art director at ICK, had been following Damien’s work for some time because of his specific focus on the body. Clifford: “We felt this was the perfect time to collaborate with Damien. Our current season is somewhat mixed up, chaotic, and uncertain– just like everyone’s life is at this moment. A similar uncertainty and vulnerability is also reflected in Damien’s work: his pieces are image puzzles that seem to go in every direction, that are explorative and never unambiguous.”
Interaction between layers
Blottière chose the dancer’s body as his photographic starting point and added to the photos his distinctive and striking collaging style. His approach is in many ways related to that of ICK: the way in which he makes collages and manually and associatively shifts the raw photographic material has been described as choreographing. He is guided in that process by a narrative that is created gradually and layer by layer, through cutting out, arranging, removing and rearranging the material. His work gets a 3D effect because he builds up the collage in different layers on top of each other, layers that interact with each other. This interaction works, in a way “as an analogy of form, intuition and feeling.”
The layering, ordering and amalgamation in Blottière’s work is also evident in the compositions he has produced specifically for ICK. In these, he tries to illustrate how, through breathing, intuition and sensitivity, the individual dancers of the company make sure they move as one. He achieves this by slicing, cutting and pasting the images of dancers’ bodies next to and over each other in a new surrealistic, other-worldly image.
This was Damien’s first time working with dancers. In his other work, which often depicts the naked body as a still life, the moving body hardly plays a role and so this project was a challenge to him. He observed how the dancers use their bodies as a means of expression: “It was actually through their bodies that I could now express myself. My fascination for the dancing body stems from a need to understand through others what I do not understand about myself ”.
The project with ICK was also an attempt for him to get to the essence of the body. By cutting from the image all unnecessary items, such as scenery or costumes, he could focus on what is essential for him to come to an understanding of the body and to a true representation of “the body machine”.
The collaboration between Blottière and ICK has resulted in a series of extraordinary images for ICK’s visual campaign that now adorn flyers, posters and other visual material of the company. The plan is to continue and deepen the collaboration in the future.