“Each has his past shut in him like
the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends
can only read the title.”
Any photographic act must have the humility to accept that
this visual expression is first and foremost paradoxical, it is its
primary trait of boldness, overshadowing all virtuosity or performance.
Contrarily to what Virginia Woolf mentions in “Les Vagues” (The Waves) :
“I wanted to dilate the night, and fit therein ever more dreams.”
Soleil Noir is a photographic series conjuring
nightmares and ghosts lurking in the shadows of loneliness.
These photographs come to us like creatures tearing through all comfort
and they make any temptation of possessing
the visible crumble to dust.
Offering a dialogue between body and landscape, these two
photographic spaces feed off, more than they answer each other.
If the landscape was commonly a projection towards
the elsewhere, it is treated here in a reversed manner, without any line of flight or horizon,
stifled as it is in impossible breakaways. Is it still a mental extension then,
a projection of these self-portraits?
Those self-portraits come to avenge us for miles of film where the body is but exaltation and sublimation,
whereas here the body struggles between presence and absence.
The gaze enabling any further dialogue or exchange is missing,
it is not offered to the palatability of a glance wanting to tame or dominate it,
rather, it is fleeing from that grasp into an enclosure filled with the void;
with the other and in the end mostly with the self.
This presence is offered to us in primitive hubbub.
Flesh is archaic unto the animal between contortion and scansion,
being disincarnated of all attractive presentation.
The living is that of doubt and instability.
Light seeps and oozes with feelings,
it is by no means flattering, it does not seek to honor and celebrate,
shunning the satisfaction of the plain obviousness to showing and therefore demonstrating,
adding to the discomfort. Reality plays with masks
and reveals itself subtly in the shades and in the hidden, accepting the possibility of tripping over,
of overflowing, of losing balance and thus overcomes any dissimulation and concession,
representation affirms itself and justifies its necessity.
Precarity of the visible and ritual of possession resonate in every photograph,
between slicing and sliced visions,
physical and terrestrial convulsions,
and offers confrontation to an unconciliating visual experience.
It would therefore be a matter of motionless exile,
an attempt to flee : is it identity, social, whatever, saturated with the noise
of loneliness and the suffocation of appearance, this deviant wandering dances
in a spectral monochrome, dissonant ellipsis where the intimate is inhospitable,
it is not a matter of seducing or flattering the eye through some kind of melancholy,
it is a matter of raw brutality
demonstrating the essential process that spans from seeing to looking.
Michel Lebelhomme, 2021