‘Ordinary Madness’ Explores Identity & Human Physicality In A Digital Age

After the temporary exhibition of her latest photography project, Ordinary Madness, at Gazelli Art House, Charlotte Colbert and the gallery have recently released the fine art photographer’s limited edition merchandise including the exhibition catalogue featuring the series of photographs, which is now available via their online shop.

Based in London, the French photographer, screenwriter and filmmaker recalls she ‘was probably an annoying child and an even more annoying teenager’. ‘Confusion is the main thing that comes to mind’ when she speaks about her childhood and teenagehood.

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Even though she studied philosophy and liberal arts in Montreal, Charlotte found photographing and filmmaking the best tools for her, and made these fields her niche to tell stories and explore the things she was curious about.

“I originally started with more documentary pieces, collecting, snapping, capturing things I came across, and I have now moved more into creating props and staging fictional worlds. Someone said with documentaries it was about being able to tell a lie with the truth whereas with fiction it was about being able to find the truth in a lie”, she says.

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“From a conversation, a piece of rubbish in the street, a feeling, an eavesdropped sound bite, an argument, an artwork, a sound, a smell”, Charlotte is inspired by everything that surrounds her. “Artists are thieves; we use everything”, she says.

Her latest photography project, Ordinary Madness, was inspired by the child of one of her friends, who tried to zoom in on a butterfly on a window. From that moment on, Charlotte started reflecting on the emoji in particular and explored, through a series of black and white photographs staging models wearing surreal emoji masks, the question of one’s identity. How do we relate to the emoji? Is the human physicality redefined by the digital age and its fallouts? How far is this online world going to take the human mind? Can it transcend borders and cultural differences, or is it becoming an even bigger invasion of our personal expression?

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“I sometimes fear we are dealing with technology in a way that panders to our human weaknesses rather than using it as a liberating tool. Hopefully the work can trigger questions, and start a conversation with the viewer.” Charlotte explains.


© Photographs by Charlotte Colbert, ‘Ordinary Madness’