Sylvain Solaro

When I get older
10″x7″; vintage photo, metal, fur, acrylic; 2020

Sylvain Solaro
Champigny-sur-Marne, France


My “collage portraits” are old portrait photos glued on a support (paper or metal) with additions of paint and materials. I like to contradict the sometimes very serious aspect of old photographic portraits by placing them in a surrealist way in relation to incongruous materials. Typically 10″x7″ (24x18cm). These old photos still stir me, I feel like I am bringing back to life these people who have now mostly disappeared.


After studying photography at the Ecole Nationale Louis Lumière in the late 1970s in Paris, France, Sylvain Solaro worked for a few years as a technician in professional photo laboratories and illustration agencies. He then worked for newspapers and magazines such as Liberation, Le Point, Actuel, Le Nouvel Observateur as a photographer reporter. He began an artistic career in the 1990s by collaborating with the Les Filles du Calvaire gallery and by participating in numerous exhibitions and fairs in France and in Europe: Salon Paris Photo (Paris), Encotros da Imagem (Portugal), Photos Bienne (Switzerland), May of Photography (Quimper), Espace des arts (Chalon-sur-Saône), Superior School of Art and Design (Amiens), Salon Linéart (Belgium).

“If Sylvain Solaro calls himself a photographer, his work comes just as much from the visual arts. He uses photography as a raw material that he mixes with other materials (lead, rope, wood, rusty metal, fabric), or with salvaged objects that he collects in an emotional way. The result is works that could be called ‘photographic objects’ (…) Little by little, the word, and beyond the language, took a major place in his work. The text, titles then snippets of sentences or comments, has become an inseparable counterpart of the image. It sometimes gives the key to it, while inducing different levels of reading, most often poetic and playful. From a formal point of view this association gives a particular character to his work (obsolete typing machine, handwritten text), doubled in the last series of a ‘DIY aesthetic’ resulting from the artisanal aspect that he confers on these creations. ‘Boxed’, these have become reliquary objects.” Extract from the Janviers en Bourgogne catalog, Chalon-sur-Saône, 1998

At the same time, Sylvain Solaro has always had a teaching and transmission activity within local missions or by leading introductory courses in digital image, he is also part of the association l’Atelier du Non Faire, a creative workshop in a psychiatric environment. Since 2012 he has collaborated with the La Machinerie creation collective.


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Seashell head
10″x7″; vintage photo, seashell, acrylic; 2020
10″x7″; vintage photo, artificial fur, acrylic; 2020
Two heads
10″x7″; vintage photo, sandpaper, stamp printing; 2020
10″x7″; vintage photo, dried and varnished bay leaf, yellow tracing paper, laser printing; 2020