the exotic lure of susu laroche

French-Egyptian artist Susu Laroche’s analogue photographs and films explore heightened emotional states and an idea of senselessness: the result is an enigmatic body of drenched in as much mystery as the artist herself.

Born and raised in London and of Egyptian and French descent, Susu Laroche became an acolyte of analogue after first discovering her father’s steel cased cameras as a child, later experimenting with film following her studies of Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Ominous in their beauty, her works depict an archaic realm where cult-like ceremonial scenes and haunting figures cast shadows on a world built upon by Susu’s imagination. Inspired by the likes of writers J.G. Ballard, Georges Bataille and filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Susu’s practice alludes to a rebellion against the orthodox, refusal for convention and a dedication to seeking and celebrating these qualities in the world around her.

Susu LarocheChaos Lure Us Chaos Rule Us is an anagram of my name, so maybe it’s my destiny. It follows me everywhere. Not much compares to the beauty of an image shot on analogue, the physical process of working with film challenges the ego: whatever you think you’re going to end up is never what it is, so you deal with it – move on. Sometimes it feels like it has a perpetual conspiracy of sabotage against you and that’s always exciting. 

I worked from an attic studio/ darkroom for a long time until eviction spelled the end of its manic reign. It was full of asbestos and crystals from the chemicals. I didn’t have a timer for the enlarger so timed each print by counting out loud in between singing along to soul. Now my studio is in a sinking ex-scaffolding factory surrounded by rats, crashed cars and a meadow. I shoot around there or at chosen destinations that encourage my appetite for adventure. I explore heightened emotional states, melodrama, antagonism and an idea of senselessness - those peak moments of all emotions where consciousness doesn’t really exist and all actions are on instinct. It also happens at moments when I’m shooting and this is where the fun begins. Maurice Blanchot and Georges Bataille wrote a lot about it as the ‘limit experience’.

The world I create is a smudged border between make-believe and truth located in Memphis, both the lost Ancient Egyptian capital city and Memphis, Tennessee. Everything takes place on an equinox in 1066 in which these two cities collide in culture clash. It is a time of feudalism without crusade. ‘Nothing is true, Everything is permitted’ (a quote from 11th century Persian warlord Hassan i Sabbah) is the mantra.”

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