27 March 2017

Ultraviolet Lights and Neon Nights

Marilyn Mugot’s Night Project is a walk through the atmospheric alleys of Chongqing and Hong Kong but was oddly conceived whilst travelling across the US. During her trip, Marilyn encountered the works of light artists like James Turrell (I've already shown him a whole lotta love in Visual Alphabet form) and other influential manipulators which, engaging her creative sensibilities, prompted her to seek out her own neon light-trip and create her own world within it. The French photographer's surreal images include everything from congested streets and towering high-rise buildings to dormant shopping malls – void of all signs of life but the eery glow of the countless city lights.


What encouraged you to start this project?
“Night Project” begun in 2014. I was travelling alone for several months in the USA. Throughout this trip, I wanted to extend my creative field, take time to think about myself, what I do on this earth, discover new horizons and work on more personal photographs that better resemble me. After some research I came across the luminous design work of Carlo Bernardini, James Clar and James Turrell – this medium matched with me and I wanted to integrate it into my photography.


Where were the images taken?
My pictures were made mostly in China, Hong kong, Guilin and Chongqing. I didn’t go there by chance. Chinese urban landscapes attract me by the play of neon lights and city aesthetics. Many shops still use this type of lighting and it gives a very interesting and surreal effect.


This series makes these places appear to be very alive but empty, is this the reality?
Well, I do not want to specifically reflect the places I visit in one picture. I like precisely to lose the references and to emphasise the aesthetic and sensitive character of the photo instead of creating something realistic and documentary. What I like to create is my vision of the universe. Photography is a tool to create my new world with my colours and dimensions.


What kind of films, photographers or artworks have helped you to build your aesthetic?
The cinema from the 80s/90s inspires me a lot. Above all “Dickian” (Philip K Dick themes) with an approach of virtual and alternative worlds like Existenz, Blade Runner, 12 Monkeys, Gattaca, Open Your Eyes/Vanilla Sky and Synecdoche, New York.

Painting inspires me too. When I was eight years old I saw “Dream Caused By The Flight of a Bee Around a Grenade” by Dalí and it upset me. I had never seen those shapes or colours before and at that age I didn’t have the language to describe it. It was explosive, the details are so realistic but bathed in a fantastic and mysterious world, everything is an enigma, it was a real visual shock.


 Talk us through your favourite Instagram accounts that you follow...
I follow the work of @CodyCobb. His landscapes glorifying nature and its details really affect me. His photographs situate him at the limit of pictorial hyper-realism. I am also interested in the Urban art through the account @KidSwiz with his deconstruction and echo of his elements and forms, @FelipePantone with his huge frescoes of electric and psychedelic colours and @Mafia_Tabak with his abstract paints.