A GARDEN OF DARK AND UNSETTLING DELIGHTS
Review by Robert Nelson
The Age, Wednesday 13 May 2015
The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 14 May 2015
Looking at the photography of Fabrice Bigot, it seems uncanny that the word "stalk" is both a noun that means twiggy stem of a plant and also a verb, to follow someone with unhealthy voyeurism.
In his exhibition at Walker Street Gallery called Naked Garden, Bigot steals up on plants in his neighbourhood. He is on the prowl in the gloom of night, prying to monumentalise the almost indecent botanical growth of exotic specimens.
Bigot's photographs are dark but never dull. There are slinking wands and vascular leaves, primordial succulents of preposterous girth, tubby bodies of fibrous protuberance or carnivorous floral wisps that seem to be neither leaf nor wood but toothy flesh or hair that simultaneously beckons and repels, like some alien sexual organ that inspires horror and mistrust.
As well as a clandestine spirit, Bigot has a brilliant eye. He can spot the bulging fulsomeness of a plant from the thicket that it nestles in and pulls out the form with light from some inscrutable direction. Everything seems by stealth. He introduces the unwelcome lens in the hostile hollows of the garden as if a snake among spiders.
Bringing out the sculptural properties of his beast-like botanies, Bigot belongs to the tradition of Edward Weston who photographically monumentalised domestic vegetables in the 1930s.
Bigot adds a baroque flourish, a tenebrist air of vanitas. However, the force of the pictures derives from seeing the plants as a lurid kind of sculpture.