JEAN FRANÇOIS FLAMEY. NIM IS A TREE
by Lina Manousogiannaki


We met with Jean François Flamey at the “maison Pelgrims” in Brussels. He is currently exhibiting work he has done on Polaroid film (actually Impossible film) for the Expolaroid month. Jean François Flamey is a self taught photographer working on a variety of film. He has always loved Polaroid, ever since he was a child. However, there is a small twist in his works. Jean François Flamey pushes the boundaries of the instant film and is not afraid to experiment in order to take the image itself to another level “liberating” it from its known appearance, the small little square format. His work is a mix of techniques in order to arrive to the desired result. Jean François Flamey is an urban explorer; he tells me characteristically, that when he re-visits places he will always search for spots within the cityscape in order to track their change, their evolution... I would dare to say that traces human activity within the urban cell. He creates a world in him which gives him the need to make images.

Jean François Flamey does not use flash, he likes low light, and he has a very minimalistic approach in his work. The images function on a tight ensemble and they seem to recite moments of memories, moments of dreams. I would say that there is a deconstruction of the whole in order to focus on one single correlated moment. That specific moment is what Jean François Flamey addresses and hopes it will evoke the world of the spectator, make him slow down and find common ground with the image.

Visual diary, a very intimate series of personal thoughts, memories, fantasies, feelings, which this artist uses as a provocation to invite the spectator in; actually I feel like the artist is reaching out on a common ground of visual culture and offers his own personal view in a complexity of ideas, thoughts, feelings, circumstances. Temporality is not something he is looking for, in these images archetypical ideas or feelings are imprinted and the motives are often ambiguous. This ambiguity is sometimes accompanied by random sounds. His images remain anonymous and suggestive and seem to be a bit indifferent of the subject; instead they evoke the spectator in some kind of dialogue. The artist hopes the spectator will find common ground with the viewer through the images... Are we talking about a new type of mixed media, which involves a combination of sound and visual aesthetics?

Jean François Flamey is a very tactile person; he needs to touch the support in order to manipulate the image, the look, the texture. Even though he likes the principal of the instant photography, the moment, the things, the details, the snap shots, he dislikes the quality of the impossible films, in particular the colour palette, so he manipulates everything in order to obtain a result which satisfies him. Technique, images, feelings they all come together to form an artistic language in which the artist engages; a mixture of found situations and enigmatic details.

Jean François Flamey is part of the Collective Aspëkt; they paste images on the walls of Namur, an old Belgian city. They believe that art is not to be exposed just in designated spaces, you can see it everywhere and this dialogue with the city itself and the creator is what interests them. You become part of the city, in anonymity of the cityscape of the modern metropolis; this practice is a way to communicate with everyone. Coming from a city, Athens, where the expression on walls is an everyday practice, I would say that Aspect is putting it out there, engaging in a practice which opposes oblivion, loneliness and anonymity modern cities offer plenty!

Soon a book entitled 'Non-dits' will be published by the Yellow Now editions. His upcoming exhibition is around the thematic of dreams and will take place during this summer in the biennale of Condroz.


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'le dimanche à salzinnes'


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'le dimanche à salzinnes'


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'le dimanche à salzinnes'


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'le dimanche à salzinnes'


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'Selected Polaroids'


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'Selected Polaroids'


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'Selected Polaroids'


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'Selected Polaroids'


© Jean François Flamey from the series 'Selected Polaroids'

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LINKS
Jean François Flamey 
Jean François Flamey (Paysages Sonores)
8e Biennale de photographie en Condroz 
urbanautica Belgium