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PhotoMonth 2011: Matthias Olmeta

The French artist joins Carole Suety at Agnès b in Spitalfields for a photographic exhibition

As part of the east London's photography festival PhotoMonth 2011, French retailers Agnès b are opening the doors of their Spitalfields store for an exhibition of two photographers’ works: one a rising star, one a doyen in his field. Carole Suety’s surrealist-inspired depictions will surely contrast in the French boutique with Matthias Olmeta’s confrontational ambrotypes. Photographs reworked, their subjects assume a haunting gleam. Suety’s cinematic narrative and Olmeta’s pregnant artworks may seem to have little to do with each other on the surface, though both aim to reveal hidden relationships within the world.

Dazed Digital: How long have you been making artwork?
Matthias Olmeta:
It seems it's been forever. I've always had the need to create and I ended up choosing photography as means of expression as I couldn't play the violin!

DD: What drives you to create?
Matthias Olmeta:
Today all my work is inspired from my shamanistic experiences. Everything revolves around energies, the intention primes over the aesthetic. In my work I paint the invisible world which the plant and the shaman have allowed me to connect with. For me it's to illustrate the connections we have to one and other.

DD: What form does your art take? Is it mainly photography?
Matthias Olmeta:
Yes it's mainly photography but only ambrotypes (wet collodion on altuglass) which makes pieces with a high vibration of silver as well as being unique. One of my latest pieces is an 'ex-voto', a collodion plate with animal skulls and dried insects. I'm also working on a piece made with direct electrical sparks on the collodion emulsion; similar to the experiments of Trouvelot in the 1890's to show the paths of electricity. 

DD: Where are you based?
Matthias Olmeta: 
I work from my studio in Marseille where I now enjoy the quality of life,I regularly go spearfishing to smooth out my energies.

DD: You recently showed as part of a group exhibition at the agnes b Howard Street store. How do you like NYC? Where are your favourite hangouts?
Matthias Olmeta:
Last time I was there was for the photo AIPAD and I stayed around central park near the armory. When I was studying photography I used to hang out in Brooklyn..New York is a great city anyway.

DD: Do you prefer New York or London?
Matthias Olmeta:
I've a stronger emotional link with London because I have lived there longer. I was part of a group of artists which was called Pull-it. We were in Brixton then we had an old office block of 6000 square meters in Camden.

From October 8 until November 3, 2011, Agnès b, 16 Lamb street, London E1