Les Tortures Volontaires
Les Tortures Volontaires by Annette Messager (2013)
“These archival prints were extracted from a set of photographs discovered by Messager (printed in 1972) in a long forgotten closet. The dated works’ theme—the great lengths to which a woman will go to make herself physically attractive—still resonated to the artist who decided to reprint the images. The resulting series, Les Tortures Volontaires (the voluntary tortures), consists of pictures culled from magazines and advertisements from the ’70s. “Today bodies and faces are remodeled, redesigned, dreamed up, but still standardized according to the collective criteria of our contemporary society,” says Messager. “Unlike wine, which alters and develops its full bouquet as it ages, we human beings continually fight against this natural process of time.””
I rarely buy artists books, as I like so many I would break my bank balance. But I couldn’t resist this one. I love these images, it again taps into my interest for human interaction with objects.
Above and Below
My room is in the attic of a house, situated in the middle of an enclave of houses in Hackney, London.
I captured moments unbeknown to my neighbours through my window over a number of months. Playing with the notion of time and change, and juxtaposing images of the sky and the human setting; I’m aiming to emphasise the extra-ordinary impression I have of the seemingly ordinary and the repetitive nature of life, both theirs and mine.
I still capture some of these subjects occasionally; the kids have grown, some people have moved and been replaced. I consciously selected images where neighbours are less recognisable to protect their identities in these private moments.
Still life and sculptures are an important part of my practice. Human interaction with objects generally fascinates me and it’s the main focus of a new project I’m currently working on.
In this selection the method of the artists is very different. Someone is interacting with, or disrupting the object, and their presence is either clearly visible in the photograph, or if not visible, they are still felt.
you’re just an empty cage, if you kill the bird
This series comes as second chapter to »you may not need eyes to see«. It addresses the feeling of emptiness, abandonment and loss. It looks at our sense of mortality in western society.
The photographs in “you may not need eyes to see” are inspired by both my own experiences and my imagination – then I can’t let the metaphors that are developed go until I’ve realised an image. As a diptych or as a group the images become more meaningful, like a montage or pages of a book.
Here are two artists who’s practice I came across recently and who’s methods I relate to.
In her practice, Agnes Geoffrey uses a mixture of staged and archival images, making analogies throughout her work, often grouping images to emphasise meaning. Tom Callemin physically manifests images that he has on his mind. Both works have an eeriness and oddity that really draws me in.