Artist, photographer, wife… Behind the artist name Suzy Embo (BE, °1936) lies a privileged witness to the post-War Belgian avant-garde. Embo’s abstract images, camera-free experiments, graphic and high-contrast photographs connect her with the Subjektive Fotografie (Subjective Photography) of Otto Steinert, who used pure photographic techniques for the sake of personal expression.
In the 1960s, her work underwent a sea change: from “artiste photographe” to “photographe d’artistes”. Embo befriended Cobra artist Pierre Alechinsky, married the sculptor Reinhoud d’Haese and lived together with them in La Bosse, an artists’ commune northwest of Paris. Alongside her personal artistic work, she trained her lens on the international art scene (including such figures as Pierre Alechinsky, Christian Dotremont, Corneille Hannoset, Karel Appel, Pol Bury, André Breton, Jacques Ledoux and Félix Labisse). The photographer created informal, intimate portraits, recorded artists at work, collaborated on projects and documented previews, plays, dance performances and other events.
FOMU acquired the entire Suzy Embo archive in 1996. In the summer of 2017, we will be revealing this collection for the first time in the form of a retrospective: Suzy Embo. Artiste photographe – Photographe d’artistes, offering the public an impartial look at the post-Cobra period and the rich oeuvre of this unjustly ignored Belgian photographer.
photo: Suzy Embo, from the series Les yeux ouverts van Pierre Alechinsky, 1965, ontwikkelgelatinezilverdruk