Franco-British artist Charlotte Colbert’s practice spans photography, film, ceramics and sculpture. Her photography combines elements of the surreal with a documentarian approach, blending the boundaries between reality and fiction with long exposure shots. Her work often captures spaces in states of ruin, such as dilapidated buildings in London. “I’ve always been interested in ruins, they’re so humbling – these endeavours caught up in their own mortality,” Colbert says. “They feel like time capsules, where all that hope, domesticity and utility of a space has completely given way to a lack of purpose.”
Colbert is a screenplay writer and director; her first feature film She Will was released in 2022, following two shorts released in 2016 and 2009. Her practice also encompasses ceramics and sculpture, including digital sculptures that incorporate video screens. “There is a whole world of characters and themes that keeps popping up in my work, and sometimes they are birthed in different mediums,” she says. Her work has been shown at Art Basel, as well as Somerset House, Saatchi Gallery, Messums Wiltshire, and Gazelli Art House in London and Baku. Her 2014 piece In and Out of Space, commissioned for Frieze to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s death, was placed on public display on the facade of 90-94 Piccadilly in London.
Colbert produces her photos in the dark room, where photographic emulsion is painted onto paper, making each piece unique. “The process is like spell-making: the red light, the smell of the chemicals, the moments of silence with these squares of light,” she says. “The conjuring of image from light, which is very different from printing, feels like a parallel to opening your eyes. The world around us reacts to light and takes a form, and that very process happens in front of you in the dark room. It’s very magical.”