Catherine Poncin is not, in the strict sense, a photographer. Rather, her activity qualifies her much better as a "post-photographer." What does that mean? Instead of photographing, Poncin re-photographs. The camera doesn't serve for her to capture reality; its vocation is not to "write light"; it is never used as a means of recording reality. Rather, it is a mechanical tool, devoted to borrowing, appropriation: already existing images, images belonging to the vast territory of the found world, available images that the black box will seize and which Poncin will make her photographic property, by adoption. "From the image by the image," says the artist about her method, with sobriety.
By Paul Ardenne in Catherine Poncin, 1999
Since 1986 Catherine Poncin has followed a photographic and plastic research identified by the generic title of De l’image par l’image. Using these photographs found at fleamarkets, in the press or in the depths of museum archives, Catherine Poncin re-photographs them methodically: a work involving re-framing, a coarse-grained reprint and the decontextualisation of the original image.
The images retained by the artist all recall the everyday, scenes of daily life – a criterion of banality and of anonymity conferring a universal dimension to the fetishist themes of this work. Every cliché, if it tends towards frontality, nevertheless inclines equally towards its annihilation.
Although new in appearance, Catherine Poncin’s images in this way recall the oldest status of the image, that of an icon, which they update and reconstruct in one go to their equivocal image. The icon, this representation which incarnates and contains, is here presented in a paradoxical way: an image ruled by the principle of the insert and the magnification to convey a feeling of the far-away, the evanescence, an oversight in construction. The prevailing impression is that of a distancing, a separation more suggested than assured between the represented and the representation (the effect of the haze and the re-framing, notably).
By Paul Ardenne, in Art press n°214, Juin 1996