Images produced without manipulation (DSLR Camera, Canon). They are part of a project I undertook while in Paris (January & February 2018), visiting, registering and studying works in museums and churches. Taking pictures in spaces like this was initially a kind of pilgrimage (in the sense explained by Proust/Ruskin). It started years earlier, not in France but countries like Portugal and the Netherlands (some of these other projects are also available here). And I never had a script. My intention was to photograph only what truly affected my senses, without looking for titles and authors, which in the case of more obscure works I discovered later on, when coming back to the pics, and some remain till now unknown or unconscious.
Colour, darkness and contrast, as well as texture are important (I want an effect which reveals the forces behind/throughout the image). A framework, support or the setting is sometimes underlined sometimes obliterated (as a parergon, in Derridean sense). I don't intend this as an academic, instructive exercise, quite on the contrary. I think the images should "speak" entirely by themselves (the truth is in their auras, and more than ever if the aura is lost). This is also an attempt to release the images from all the discursive networks that supposedly support them as officially sanctioned cultural artefacts (and if these networks were not official, my intention would be the same). The images should haunt us to the extent that we fail to name them, as dream impressions or memory failures.
"It has been argued that the Old Testament ban on 'graven images' is connected not only with a fear of idolatry but with the more universal fear of encroaching on the creator's prerogatives... [For the Eastern Church] the test was whether you could take the image by the nose. Are these magical beliefs?... I remember a visit I made to one of Queen Victoria's residences, Osborne on the Isle of Wight.... there was a life-size sculpture of a large furry dog..." (Ernst Gombrich, Art and Illusion).
"Has it not been suggested that the Great Sphinx was not conceived as the representation of a divinity but rather as a watchful guardian in his own right?... [Egyptian images] scarcely record a bygone reality; they embody a potent presence... [The Egyptian sculptor] weave a spell to enforce eternity. Not our idea of eternity... Plato we know, looked back with nostalgia at the immobile schemata of Egyptian art" (Ernst Gombrich, Art and Illusion).
"High Renaissance figures are, as a rule, built up around a central axis which serves as a pivot for a free, yet balanced movement of the head, shoulders, pelvis, and extremities. Their freedom is, however, disciplined according to what Adolf Hildebrand has called the principle of Reliefanschauung which he mistook for a general law of art while it is merely a special rule applying to classical and classicizing styles: the volume is cleansed of its torturing quality so that the beholder, even when confronted with a statue worked in the round, might be spared the feeling of being driven around a three-dimensional object... (approximate symmetry; preference for moderate angles as opposed to rigid horizontals, verticals and diagonals; and emphasis of undulating contours)... a picture free from excessive foreshortenings, obstructive overlappings... The Manneristic figura serpentinata, on the contrary, not only does not avoid but actually revels in what Hildebrand has called das Qualende des Kubischen (the torturing quality of the three-dimensional)... a Mannerist statue... seems gradually to turn round so as to display, not one view but a hundred more... multi-view... revolving-view... The Baroque abandons the Manneristic taste not in favour of classic discipline and equilibrium, but in favour of seemingly unlimited freedom in arrangement, lighting and expression... Baroque statues are fused with the surrounding space... Its aspect is comparable to that of the stage of a theatre... Michelangelo [idiosincraticaly] tortures the beholder not by driving him around teh figure, but by arresting him in front of volumes which seem to be chained to a wall, or half imprisoned in a shallow niche, and whose forms express a mute and deadly struggle of forces forever interlocked with each other... each of his figures is subjected to a volumetric system of almost Egyptian rigidity. But the fact that this volumetric system has been forced upon organisms of entirely un-Egyptian vitality, creates the impression of an interminable interior conflict... their unhappiness is essential... Inexorably shackled, they cannot escape from a bondage both invisible and inescapable. Their revolt increases as the conflict sharpens; at times a breaking point is reached, so that their vital energies collapse... attitudes of repose do not connote peaceful tranquility but absolute exhaustion, deadly torpor, or fitful drowsiness... figures are conceived not in relation to an organic axis but in relation to the surfaces of a rectangular block... They are modelled by the characteristic cross-hatching, which even in drawing look like chisel-marks" (Panofsky).
Original works photographed here include Roman sculptures (Prince Antoninus, Carcalla, Caligula, Orestes & Pylades), Pierre Julien's "Gladiateur Mourant" (1779), Jean-Jacques Caffieri's "Un Fleuve" (1759).