Billie Thomassin claims the impossibility of photography by creating “photo-fictions”, metaphors of the improbable. Through a staging game, she brings together the universality of beauty and popular culture, questioning the ambiguity of relationships maintained by the beautiful and the zany. The often gaudy colors she uses refer to her search for empirical harmony, exacerbated by some borrowings from the codes of a surreal aesthetic. Colorist at heart, the artist does not forget to reflect on the formal issues that constitute photography: stretched and truncated, the form is often suggestive. By resorting to a singular manipulation of the image, the artist regularly questions the representation of the body. It is cut up, diverted, dislocated or isolated, it is always its insane position that is questioned. Cradled by the Internet and its flow of images, the artist undoubtedly masters the codes of a culture disenchanted by the overflow of information. Her hybrid universe, conceived as a point of friction between art, fashion and the digital world, is used by renowned collaborators, including Hermes, YSL, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Jalouse Magazine, with whom she collaborates regularly. . Whether for her personal projects or for fashion commissions, her work pushes the viewer into their aesthetic entrenchments. It suggests them to take a moment to solve the photographic enigma that they face.
Elsa & Johanna
In a duet, Elsa & Johanna turn themselves into operas, screenwriters, stylists, actresses and directors, and propose fantasized universes, fruits of their respective imaginations. Unceasing observers, they immerse themselves in their environment to embody fictional characters in theatrical settings. Each interpretation is born of a tension between the experience of a daily reality and the influence of a referential mosaic. From then on, the apparent simplicity of the photographs is only a decoy. At first glance, the protagonists are unknown models, but more closely the informed viewer recognizes the faces of Elsa & Johanna, respectively disguised as a shepherd or dreamy teenager on her diary. Nevertheless, the photographic practice of this duo does not stop at these self-representations. In the same way that they play with their image, they make skits where they are no longer the only performers. Elsa & Johanna incorporate new faces or exclude the human presence to compose still lifes. Also, they use their artificial aesthetics in their commercial production, so that all their work finds the mark of their visual identity.
Guillaume Martial has the art and the way to play hide-and-seek on the surface of his images, and it is in the staging of his own body that he particularly deploys his talents. Being his own model allows him to sprinkle every image with a good dose of self-deprecation, an essential quality to circumvent the seriousness so often attributed to photographs. And if his images do not sin by pride, it’s because he updates the game they contain. He finds himself upside down, feet in the air, go straight into the wall to better melt. When the look stops on one of his images, he quickly understands that something is wrong. However his photographs are not cul-de-sacs, they rather lead the viewer to deploy a scenario around the image: what does the part of the body that is concealed look like? What happens out of the box? How did it happen? What led him to dip his head under the wallpaper or head for those waters without a lifejacket? Obviously, there are no answers to these questions that occur naturally. However, the comings and goings that the mind makes seems to contain all the interest of these photographs: to seek causes, precisions to these absurd situations engenders a whole universe around the image, which is therefore a starting point and not an end. We are free to see it as a passing folly, a scholarly reference, or a child’s play.
Paul Rousteau makes use of photography that a historian of art could easily describe as impure. Let us explain: it does not capture purely objective information but explores, without seeming to be, the different springs of the photographic image. In fact, his photographs look like abstract paintings at first sight because the artist makes his camera a medium of revelation rather than a reproduction of reality. Dissatisfied with the idea of representing reality as our eye could do, the experimenter triturates his optics or installs reflective devices upstream of the shooting and reworks his photographic prints downstream to deprive us of our usual vision. If we cross familiar elements in his photographs (animal world, plant and human bodies) it’s always with a modified perspective that we rediscover them (from back, as still life, colorful applat or humanoids …) so that photography has here the virtue of making visible the invisible. This function of art borrowed from a pioneer of abstraction, Paul Klee, associates the approach of Paul Rousteau to the History of Modern Art. Finally, from what invisible does he operate the unveiling? Beauty, God or only the unnoticed, the mystery remains, it’s up to us to choose. For the rest, let us rather qualify his photography as idealist because its realization is motivated by the quest (a priori unattainable) of a perfect horizon. His work also draws on the aesthetics of the Impressionists whose research, more pragmatic, was to observe the optical effects of light variations. Giving a special place to Monet, the artist has been walking his Giverny garden for almost three years with his camera and seems to pursue the chromatic interpretations of the painter.
Suzanne Mothes documents a silent world of intimacy, a world in which microcosm and macrocosm seem intimately linked. She creates her own universe composed of everyday objects, carnal and organic elements, allowing the spectator to see the invisible and perceive the unnoticed. Here, a few strands of hair shyly reveal an unveiled skin. There, fuzzy bodies move in space, come alive in front of her lens. By immortalizing the physical and even sensual presence of the substances that make up our environment, the artist shows the beauty of the ordinary. Playing with different scales, the synergy of bodies and materials that she captures, the photographer finds various ways to question the irruption of repressed and strange in our daily lives. Never shown but always suggested, the objects take under her objective deformed features. So that at first glance, difficult for the viewer to explain what they have in front of them. From floral nebulae to photographic abstractions, Suzanne Mothes’ universe offers the viewer a lyrical immersion in a strange world, ours.