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Brigitte Carnochan 
Book cover for Brigitte Carnochan "Bella Figura" (Modernbook Editions, 2006) 
Book cover 
Provided by the artist - Brigitte Carnochan 
Also available, a LIMITED EDITION of 80 books in a matching slipcase with a signed and matted 6 x6 inch print, Peach Rose - $1000 USD (Price - February 2007)
David Bayles' introduction to Bella Figura:
Beautiful? Of course it's beautiful.
Any serious consideration of Brigitte Carnochan's photography must grasp the uneasy role of beauty in the contemporary world without equivocation and she knows it. Generally speaking it would be unfair to reduce the discussion of any artist's work to one topic, never mind to one word, but in this case the word is important enough and it's convincing use difficult enough that the residual unfairness of such narrowing can probably be justified.
There is no question that beauty classical beauty, the beauty of Western European Art Objects, the beauty of Carnochan's workĄ lies in suspect terrain, probably alongside certainty, faith, perhaps even confidence. Among the many continuing legacies of the last century are the understandings that no concept is unalloyed, no thing is free from context, everything has a dark side, irony prevails. Similarly, informed by the astonishing displays of brutality and mendacity practiced by the most sophisticated civilizations our species has produced including Germany and America we have learned among much else that the inevitability of human progress is not assured, that hope is frequently naive, that charity may be self-serving and that beauty is, often enough, a contrivance, so much so that the default assumption is to discriminate beauty from truth, not to align them. The art world, self-consciously the repository of sophistication, takes these ironies of contemporary life for granted so completely that work lacking in irony may be met with deep skepticism or worse.
So, what is Carnochan doing in such a world? Well, first of all she is not making an argument, she is not taking philosophical positions, her work is not a critique or even an observation on other art. It is not about ideas: her work neither supports nor refutes any notion of what constitutes art. It is not even about expression, never mind self-expression.
Rather, she is trying to make objects that are the physical substantiation of qualities she cares about the quality of Beauty, for example. The photographs embody her values and give them literal existence. It requires typography to illustrate that her intent is not to make a photograph that is beautiful but rather to make a photograph that is beautiful a sort of existential 'sthetic regimen.
This was not a calculated destination. But neither did she stumble into it unawares after all she prepared for this work with a Stanford Masters Degree in Education, a Berkeley Ph.D. in Literature, a virtually uninterrupted lifetime of training in classical ballet, a crisp sense of personal style, and an arsenal of social skills that are hard to beat. There is some prefiguring of the photographs in all that demanding time in ballet studios (my estimate is that she has logged over seven thousand hours "at the barre") perhaps something related to discipline sufficient that it leaves no trace. But no matter what the groundwork, Carnochan came to photography as a fully developed adult, setting a tack that has proved well chosen.
Brigitte Carnochan is, I believe, personally and rightly troubled by the suspect state of beauty, not only in the way that we are all troubled by these Dark Ages, but more intensely by the irony of seeking to extract perfection from a perfect quandary. Her way out is to make an artist's choice, keeping the uncertainties of our times to herself and letting the work posit the existence of Beauty, unalloyed and unblinking. (In her cosmology, existence resides in the artwork, not in the artist.) In other words, some artists know who they are (or whom they wish to be) and declare themselves in their work. Other artists know what they wish to do, and of that fortunate group, the most fortunate Brigitte Carnochan among them actually do it. 

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