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Martine Fougeron at The Point

By Peggy Roalf   Friday May 16, 2014



Tomorrow a new gallery opens at The Point, a South Bronx art center, with an exhibition of images from the neighborhood by Martine Fougeron. The French-born photographer, widely known for portraits made for The New Yorker, moved from the West Village to Port Morris, in the South Bronx, in 2011, and began photographing people at work in the neighborhood.

Trades/Oficios/Metiers, her continuing project on craftspeople and factories, looks into a pre-ironic world where people take pride in their work without pretense. She focuses on century-old industrial steel production, scrap metal recycling, and scaffoldings as well as family trades like baking, printing, and hand crafted bedding. She also includes activities near the Hunt’s Point Food Market—custom-prepping fish, crafting wooden boats, and creating green rooftops.

As she continued the project, Ms. Fougeron discovered a world apart from the common perception of the South Bronx as a wasteland. “So much of New York is about finance and banking,” she says. “It’s people in offices. There’s no charm to it. Here, it was back to reality where people do real, differentiating tasks. They’re very involved in it, and there’s a dignity to that.

As the show's curator Elisabeth Biondi remarks: “Ms. Fougeron decided to cover photographically each trade in four different ways. Her compelling portraits focus on the working people; her striking landscapes place the project geographically; her environmental pictures are both informative and reflective; and her close-ups are simply beautiful abstractions. Together it adds up to a remarkable artistic document of Port Morris and Hunts Point.” Above: Nancy Reyes, a decorator at Valencia Bakery. Copyright © and courtesy Martine Fougeron.

Martine Fougeron | Heart of the South Bronx: Trades, opens Saturday, May 17 from 5 to 8 pm as the inaugural show at The Point’s new Art Container Gallery. Information.

The Point’s Art Container at the Campus for the Arts and the Environment, 1391 Lafayette Avenue, Bronx, NY. InformationDirections.

Born in Paris, Martine Fougeron studied at Wellesley College and l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. After a successful career as a creative director in the fragrance industry, Fougeron turned to photography, studying at the International Center of Photography in New York. Fougeron has mounted solo shows in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia and her work has also been exhibited internationally in China, France, Italy, South Korea, and Switzerland. Her work is held in major private and public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Fougeron is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Times. Her first monograph of intimate portraits of her adolescent sons will be published in 2014 by Steidl. She is on the faculty of ICP.

 

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