exhibition stéphane lallemand

museum of modern and contempory art of strasbourg

february 3 > april 4 2004

Photogénies...

The photographs
History of art is very much linked to the history of the sight’s mechanisms. Artists have made every effort to implement systems of comprehension of space that enables them to represent an observed reality. Geometry and treatises of optics written in ancient times work towards fixing a geometrisation of space that will become the foundation of the conical perspective’s rules. The principle of the camera obscura was known since Aristotle, but it is the perfecting of optics, since the XVIth century, that has given rise to the development of a machine that enables its use in the drawing’s field. The seizing of the images is still done by the hand of the artist who interprets and centres the infinite space that surrounds him. With the possibility to preserve the image that is produced by the dark room, photography establishes in a way the conclusion of an evolution that has begun during Renaissance, offering to everyone the possibility to seize portions of the surrounding reality. By becoming an industry, photography assumes the right to tell what is reality, by establishing a proof. Without this proof, reality doesn’t exist.
The salt papers printings from calotypes are images that are stolen on the Internet and worked again on computer. After this first stage of the seizing and the fabrication of negatives, an almost alchemistic universe appears with the transformation of the pure silver into a photosensitive solution that is capable of making appear an image that will preserve itself, thanks to the sunbeams. A passage between a technique that was discovered since the invention of photography in the middle of the XIXth century and the profusion of images that are offered to the gaze via the Internet. The created images are presented according to the archetypes of the old photographs presentation : reduced dimensions, sober glass and frame, muséal white journ filler.


Stolen images
Since its invention, photography becomes a new way of preserving images and will be used in order to memorize the shadow of feminine presences, with the alibi of giving to the artists still and accessible models, constantly or for much less confessable reasons. The image of the easy nudity has entered into a circuit of distribution that has become planetary with the Internet. Accessible, erotic or openly pornographic images display the most various intimacies in RBG colours. Here, the galleries are not artistic, but are half-opened doors to even more crude, even more “hot”, more “hard”, more “trash”, more forbidden visions. "Pay for view"…
From these galleries where thousands of pixes “of choice” propose “HD” to download for free, I stole details, probably invisible for their own creators, that I bring back on my hard disk as a booty. Then, the cooking begins…
At first, reframing, changing of mode, inversions, printing … A negative is printed on paper. The forbidden image enters into a process of aesthetisation, being akin to the definition given by Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) to his invention ; the word “calotypes” being created by associating the Greek roots of the word “Kalos” and the word “Typos”: “the writing of what is beautiful”.
Then, a plunge into the prehistory of photography. Some pure silver volatises itself into acid. “Infernal stone” and cooking salt will combine together in order to make the progression of the light visible and to preserve its trace on paper.
For one time, the fleeting images of the Internet are being immortalized, thanks to the action of light.


go to the page about thistledown....
go to the page about forbiden fruits...
go to the page about landscapes
go to the page about photogenics drawings...
go to the page of credits
stéphane lallemand