Speaking: Claire Felicie
At the beginning of 2019, Claire Felicie was invited to show an overview of her work at Pennings Foundation. She made her first contacts with Galerie Pennings in 2003.
Claire Felicie (1966) grew up in Breda. In 1988 she moved to Amsterdam. She is self-taught. She works (still) in black and white with an analog camera and has her own darkroom where she prints her photos. Only for large formats she works with a photo lab. Claire Felicie is her stage name.
“In 2002 my work was published as a portfolio in the magazine Pf, with a text by Herman Hoeneveld. And in 2003 I was invited for an exhibition in De Melkweg with the series In the forecourt."
At an early age Claire Felicie lost her mother. “My father was a sweet man, a nice man too, but he paid little attention to the children. When I think of my childhood, everything was ‘dark’. It was a nasty period. I read a lot, to escape from the gloomy reality and to flee into another, more beautiful world. When I raised my own family, I wanted a change. I wanted ‘light and cheerfulness’. The pictures of her children in In the Forecourt bear witness to this, even though there is a hint of melancholy related to her own childhood.
"Suzanne Dechert from De Melkweg said: “You should go and see the Pennings Gallery." I went to meet Harry Pennings and he took my work to Art Cologne. There were plans for an exhibition of In the forecourt at Galerie Pennings, but in 2006 Harry died. When Petra (Cardinaal) took over the gallery, the contact continued.”
"Following my father's death, I made the Moonstruck series, with photos of a girl in a white dress in a forest and in the snow, as symbols of eternity and transience.” With this series an exhibition was organized in 2007 at Galerie Pennings.
“In 2009 I started photographing Dutch Marines. My son was a marine and he and his unit were due to be sent to Afghanistan. However, fate determined otherwise. My son and his unit were sent to Curaçao. A lot of his friends in another unit did leave for Afghanistan. And so did I; that was the intention of the project."
This has resulted in the impressive series Here Are The Young Men in which the marines were portrayed before, during and after their deployment to Afghanistan. Felicie aptly captured the eyes that reveal the mood of the men, from 'expectant’ to ‘facing death' to what many see as ‘traumatized’. This is best expressed with the triptych presentation. With the triptychs of the marines, Petra went to the Fotofever fair in Paris in 2013. Claire had cards printed from the triptychs; they were in great demand. And many visitors took pictures of it.
"Then I made the series Only The Sky Remains Untouched (2015-2016), about soldiers with PTSD." It almost seems like a logical continuation of the series about the Marines. She has published books from both series. The exhibition of Only The Sky Remains Untouched was on show at Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle.
“In 2017 and again in 2018 I went to Iraqi Kurdistan. I was concerned about the fate of the Peshmerga women who, alongside the men, were fighting against