Claire Burelli

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Claire Burelli. I was born in Marseille, France and lived in Corsica all my childhood. I now live and work in Montreal, Québec. I am a visual artist working mostly with photography and am also in my last year of graphic design bachelor studies.

List some things that are beautiful to you.
Nature, wild animals, children, kindness, colors, old people, music, chanting, yoga postures. There are so many beautiful things in the world. I can’t even list them all.

What’s the story behind your first camera?
My grand father bought me a polaroid when I was about 8 years old.

Do you prefer digital or film?
I like them both but now I only use digital.

What is it that you love about collages?
I like the idea of transformation, to turn one thing into another one. It changes perspective. With collage you sometimes find pieces of images and then try to assemble them to recreate into what you thought it should have been. That is quite magical.

Can you explain the inspiration behind the Echo-A and Echo-B?
This diptych is an experimentation with deconstruction. I used a generative algorithm with my camera phone to generate images. The industrial architecture was an interesting material to start with. It is graphic and I wanted it to look like it was constructed, graphically, even though it was in fact deconstructed by the algorithm. It is also very generative work so there is a random “chance” aspect. It is controlled, of course, but still I am not all alone in this creation.

For Eclats, why this fragmentary post-shoot editing? What sort of images did you compile for this series?
I wanted to experiment with image deconstruction, so I started this cut-and-paste routine. This project was my first attempt to work images that way. I also wanted to use my traveling photo archives; you know, the ones that are quite nice but are sleeping in your hard drive forever. I wanted to give them a second life, to honor them in some way. Cutting and pasting some pieces of the picture allowed me to do that. Also in 2012 an art festival called ArtSouterrain liked this kind of aesthetics. I produced a Montreal image-based series specifically for the exhibition so that people could recognize some places they already have been to and eventually be surprised by their new appearance.

Why the title, Eclats?
Well in English, it means bursts. All those little pieces spread apart reminded me of that.

If you had to choose a couple of images for someone who is looking at your portfolio for the first time, which would you select?
Maybe Blind Spot because it shows the nature of the process I am currently working with but also addresses some of the questions that are dear to me. Questions about memory, about transformation about the dialogue between photography and painting, about abstraction, and about deconstruction.

Can you go more into Blind Spot? It seems like this series is very different from your other work.
It is funny because I don’t feel this one is really different from the other ones. It was a school assignment on this particularly topic, Blind Spot. I was in a research group talking about the new aspect of photography which includes camera phones, drones and even survellance camera. At this time I was experimenting with my IPhone and some generative program so I came with this idea of altered images where the blind spot actually was the code that helped deconstruct the visual. Personally I think you can still find in other series this interest of deconstructing visual and altering the memory you have from the original one.

Tell us about the project: #GenerationVide.
#GenerationVide is a project about compulsion and loneliness. It talks about our tendencies to accumulate all kind of things that we actually don’t need. Instead of being satisfied, we mostly feel more and more alone. I created those mosaics with one image that I repeatedly deconstructed with an algorithm. Like that, each time I created more images but the images itself tend to finally be just a void, with nothing left.

In an ideal world, what artists or creative individuals would you like to collaborate with or grab coffee with to pick their brains?
Oh there are so many! Recently I descover this artist called Aldo Tolino who does amazing work. Also a wonderful painter, Sydney CohenRichard Galpin too; he does those crazy abstract photographs. I really love the work of Lucas Simoes, which bends together architecture, photography, installation, and sculpture.

What are your favorite art exhibitions, ones that you’ve seen or wish you saw in person?
I don’t have favourite exhibitions. I wish I could see more of those which are in Montreal. I am really looking forward to the next “Mois de la Photo” which would be in September 2014. I saw this Vik Muniz exhibition a couple years ago. I was so moved that I went back three times. I wish I could have seen Gerhard Richter retrospective in Centre Pompidou, Paris- – that must have been something special.

Who are some musicians you’d like to see live in concert?
The Kraftwerk 3D show! It will be in Montreal but is all sold out. Also this Stromae show – “Racine Carré” – seem to be quite interesting. Otherwise maybe Prodigy, Amon Tobin “ISAM” audio visual project, Tthe Beatnuts and The Skatalites. There are so many more, but I can’t list them all, can I?

What books currently sit on your bookshelf?
Recently I read two books about the Rwanda genocide of the Tutsi: N’ai pas peur de Savoir from the author Yolande Mukagasana and Murambi, le livre des ossements by the author Boubacar Boris Diop. I am also trying to read this book Aoutobiography d’un Yogi by the author Paramhansa Yogananda and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satchidananda. Those last two will take me very long, so maybe in 2016 I will still be reading them!

Describe your ideal food day, particularly if calories were of no matter.
I love this vegan food from a Thai Restaurant in Montreal. I love crêpes and also this thaï curry my parter makes. It is delicious!

What color defines you?
It depends on the season, I think. I like bright colors during summer like yellow, white, orange, and red. And during winter, I wear more darker colors like dark blue, dark grey, black, and some white too.

What’s your favorite smell?
I like all kind of smell from food to that of my son, but also the smell of Gardenia flowers.

What are your favorite locations around the world?
I love Montreal. It is such a great city with some great museums, parks, restaurants. I love some beaches in Corsica. I love this place called Playa Maguana in Baracoa, Cuba. A couple years ago, we stayed in San Cristobal de las Casas and it was wonderful.  I love the Palenque Ruins too – they are so peaceful. Oh, and also this place near Bastelica in Corsica called Pozzi.

What songs are on your personal playlist?
I love almost all songs from Bonobo. Also this album Street Level from The Beatnuts. No Need for Alarm from DEL too. The Cure in general. Homework from Daft Punk, Spokes from Plaid, and some Lady Sovereign songs I don’t recall. I don’t have a “playlist” per se. I don’t work with music, almost never. I listen to albums only when I am driving. The only exception is recently, when I discovered Stromae and listened to his last albums for two weeks, non-stop.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. Some people don’t know that I think about them a lot and send them good vibes as much as I can.
2. I read those fortune cookies and yogi tea little notes and I take them quite seriously. I am very superstitious!
3. I failed both medicine and law school.


For more of Claire’s work, check out her website.