Free to Improvise

For French artist Anne-Laure Étienne (b. 1991), photography is “as much about shooting
as it is about performance.” In the self-portrait series Tissues and Bones, figures leap over
rock formations, climb trees and lie under open sky. Bodies bend, stretch, tense and relax,
whilst flowing fabrics billow with the breeze and glitter in harsh sunlight. Étienne’s face is
often obscured by sheets of brightly coloured cloth, whilst her body appears trapped in
awkward positions. There’s a tension between constraint and freedom, as the artist navigates
challenging yet sprawling terrain. The images ask: in our advanced technological world, how
disconnected from nature have we become? The Rencontres d’Arles award-winning series is
part of a wider body of work that harnesses dazzling pop colours, 1980s-inspired textures
and playful “games in space.” Étienne is always looking for “the accident in the shot”, using
improvisation as a means of self-expression. | @etienne.annelaure

All images courtesy of Anne-Laure Étienne, from Tissue and Bones (2022).