'Now, there is no reason why the photographer's desire to produce a work and the sitter's desire for an image should coincide : consequently, the truth of the portrait is always found in the way it negotiates the tension between these gazes that meet and teste each other' : (Jean-Marie Schaeffer, Portraits, singulier pluriel, exh. cat., Mazan/BNF, 1997).
Les Collectionneurs (the collectors) is a serie of photographic portraits of collectors of contemporary art. They were taken in a place decided by the sitter, sometimes with objects chosen specially by the latter. The composition and framing of the photograph were also determined by the sitter.
The photograph bodies are then elided in the middle, depriving them of their face, and consequently, perhaps, of their ego. Following in the tradition of portaits of patrons, Les Collectionneurs reverses the laws of the genre by depriving the sitter of his or her identity, making them anonymous, or virtually. Deprived of faces, their bodies reduced to a slim silhouette, these portraits disappoint the expectation of 'resemblance' that goes with the genre and break the classical rule of enhancing the represented subject. But then, is our identity consubstantial with our fleshly envelope ?
This construction/deconstruction of the image reflects a to-and-fro between the collector and artist : the former has staged his or her portrait, and decided on the format and framing of the image. Between these two stages, the final cut : (in all the many senses of that expression) is made by the artist. Here is a way of exhibiting the power play that subtends the making of images, and of portraits in particular.
Catalogue Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil : "Include me Out", MAC/VAL Museum Edition