• Private Investigation

    Date posted: February 25, 2009 Author: jolanta
    I am a photographer living and working in Paris. I am a permanent resident of the National Foundation for Graphic and Plastic Arts in Paris Since 2004. I was initially trained as a biochemist, which influenced me to base my work around the human being’s evolution, identity, and history. I primarily use photography as a medium, although I also use video and sound for my installations. Titans’ Land is a work in progress started in 2006. It consists of different series: Identity, Intimity (“intimacy” in French), Titans’ Eyes, Titans’ Memory, Press, and Landscape Invasion. I mask and then photograph people in their daily intimate scenarios.
    These photographed situations show familiarity with our own lives, the
    only difference being that the models’ faces are hidden behind Mexican
    wrestler’s masks. The idea is to interlink the legendary and the
    mundane.
    Image

    Lionel bayol-Themines

    Image
    Lionel bayol-Themines, Landscape Invasion, 2006/2007. Photo stiked on plexiglass (diassec), 160 x 110 cm, edition on 5. Courtesy of the artist.

    I am a photographer living and working in Paris. I am a permanent resident of the National Foundation for Graphic and Plastic Arts in Paris Since 2004. I was initially trained as a biochemist, which influenced me to base my work around the human being’s evolution, identity, and history. I primarily use photography as a medium, although I also use video and sound for my installations.

    Titans’ Land is a work in progress started in 2006. It consists of different series: Identity, Intimity (“intimacy” in French), Titans’ Eyes, Titans’ Memory, Press, and Landscape Invasion. I mask and then photograph people in their daily intimate scenarios. These photographed situations show familiarity with our own lives, the only difference being that the models’ faces are hidden behind Mexican wrestler’s masks. The idea is to interlink the legendary and the mundane. These wrestlers, who are regarded as superheroes, have to put their myth to the test. If this myth of the superhero loses, a powerful identity emerges. The hero becomes an individual with everything that constitutes a human life. The more the images, the more harmonious the models seem wearing their masks. The mask becomes part of their personality. This enables me to create my own species: Titans’ Land.

    It is important to understand that this is not some costume parade, but a distorted form of our reality. The Titans could actually exist, thanks to the photographic proof of a parallel world. Intimity is the center of this project, a type of ethnographic document, reflecting the Titans’ everyday life and their most common gestures. It allows us to understand their social structure, their lives being so familiar to ours. This accumulation of evidence allows us to analyze their reality.

    Can we detect a major influence of our culture on their lifestyle? The series Landscape Invasion is the Intimity series placed in locations. The idea of confrontation slides between public and private places, but also between our reality and the Titans’. Using advertising media scattered in urban spaces, I help viewers reflect on our daily environment. This work is the fruit of a reflection on the imagery, its nature, and its use. On one hand, urban landscapes feel like parasites, contaminating the outskirts of towns, roads, and bus stops through giant billboards. On the other hand, an image portraying intimacy spreads through immaterial channels at the time of connection. Suddenly the advertisement turns into a computer screen, delivering a Titan’s private moment. The image takes over as if trying to announce imminence. This is the result of saturated visual stimuli, a hubbub, where nothing makes sense, a field of fertile soil where the Titans can offer themselves up for acknowledgement of their existence.

    Titans’ Eyes expresses a notion that it’s through the interior of a warrior’s mask that we can see the accumulation of what our eyes have witnessed. The daily accumulation of information leads to the color white, due to the loss of information. Titans’ Memory is the opposite. It is a look on our historic symbolic moments. I chose a dozen events during the 20th century that changed the course of history. The Titans gaze at these images in which lies a trace, an imprint of their presence, as a remembrance, a memorial. In these two series, I question the two parts that constitute our memory: identity construction and our references.

    The photographic installation Press consists of 60 fake magazine covers. As for Landscape Invasion, the Titans take over a significant space in our daily reality. It is through these covers that they borrow the image usually reserved for exceptional people be it officials, victims, fashion icons, or other incarnations of the celebrity myth. In these covers, everything is changed, only the name and the mask are attached to the identity. Any one of us could be on it. It is no longer our face that stands for our identity; it is the non-identity that constitutes our being.

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