MARILYN Mugot is a French graphic designer and photographer. Her recent work titled ‘Night Project’ has drawn worldwide interest for its imaginative, neon-lit take on urban landscapes.
Marilyn joins us on Close-up Culture to delve further into her work.
Q: Your Night Project gives us a striking neon-lit look at nocturnal urban China. Can you tell us more about this project and how it came to be?
A: AFTER a trip to the United States. I made this journey to free myself and discover myself artistically. To explore a photography combining my various influences likecinema, street photography and light design.
I was able to explore a more personal style of photography and to orient myself towards what seduced me. This was an aesthetic work that also allowed for the spontaneity of a street photo.
I wished to work in semi-darkness or at night. I loved the moments on long walks when I sometimes witnessed unreal, mysterious scenery. I wanted an image of strangeness that we sometimes feel when something familiar seems unknown, different and fascinating at the same time.
On my return from the States, I immediately thought of China and working on this idea in depth. I was inspired by the idea I had of the landscapes of this country.
Q: What techniques do you use to create this style?
A: FOR some photographs, I made long exhibitions. For others I worked on lights and colours and post-production. The process is never completely identical according to the photo, the goal being to approach aesthetically a dreamlike setting that touches a cinematographic dimension fantastically.
Q: Each photo feels like it has its own fantasy story waiting to be told. How did you pick each location and do you seek out a story for each photo?
A: WHAT I seek above all is to feel an emotion when a landscape appears before my eyes.
I do not choose a particular place when I travel. There are of course urban universes that attract and seduce me – for example the places in the world that are still protected from the Western standard.
I like to make people lose their bearings – to remove all traces of time and reinvent a paradigm, reinvent a universe. When I land in a city, I walk randomly in the streets without really considering where I am going. I like to move in different atmospheres. It is in this way that an enigma is deciphered, an introspection is set up. I need something new to capture the best possible image.
Q: What were your experiences as a solo artist working in a foreign land?
A: I AM more of a loner and dreamer. I am self-satisfied when travelling or at home.
Q: I was particularly interested to hear that you are inspired by cinema. Much of your recent work has been compared to the visuals from the Blade Runner films. Can you tell us about your interest in cinema and what work inspires you?
A: YES, it has been a passion since a young age. I am a small cinephile. Cinema is a great source of inspiration for many things. Being a curious person, I was able to watch many films of all kinds. Fantastic and fictional cinema inspires me a lot and makes me travel.
Q: We have seen many artists step into filmmaking recently – just last month we reviewed a film by photographic artist Mitra Tabrizian. Would this move or working with a director interest you? If so, what kind of style would you hope to create?
A: VIDEO production is a field that interests me a lot and in which I will start working, I have several ideas emerging but it is a little early to talk concretely about achievements. I do not really see myself working with a director since I like to design my own images and my own creations.
Q: Your work has rightfully received a lot of interest from media outlets. As an artist, what is the biggest compliment you can receive? What constitutes success for you?
A: IN my opinion, success comes down to being able to live with one’s passion by being free to create for oneself.
Q: What is next for you? Do you have any locations or new projects lined up?
A: PHOTOGRAPHICALLY, I have several ideas of place in my mind and new themes orienting themselves in Europe.
The video production is a next step of my future creations. I cannot wait to concretize this step in my career path.