Michel Lorand



ETE 78 – 2016

SELFPORTRAITS is a silent black and white film in which a series of portraits filmed from different angles (face, back, left and right profile, 3/4 face and back, eyes open and shut) glide slowly on a screen, from right to left. These are the portraits of three models, in a line of descent: the artist, his father and his son. The images file past in chronological order, from the youngest to the oldest and vice versa, in a continuous loop. This succession is based on a progressive, constantly moving “morphing” of the different portraits. We are therefore never given to see any one of the three original portraits, as they are transforming all the time and therefore elusive. This self-portrait is therefore both multiple and changeable.

UNSELF refers to the black and white images printed on paper which are captures from the film SELFPORTRAITS, images that are contrasted in the extreme in order to depersonalise them, to make each of the faces illegible. They are stuck on the very wall.

KARYOTYPE (black and white printout on paper roll 150cm x 650cm) is inspired by scientific karyotypes, which are representations in photographic form of all the chromosomes in a cell, classified by pairs and according to their size. It is in a sense the imagery of the genetic material (genome) of an individual, in part, his/her “biological identity” and a way for instance of defining his/her sex. It is here quite freely composed on the basis of the UNSELF silhouettes. These motifs are ordered like ‘-“pairs of chromosomes”, the only difference being their sexual determination (XX or XY).

ANONYM is a large table on which are spread out a mosaic of black and white photographs of turbulent seas in close-up (photographs by Serge Verheylewegen). On those images are arranged forms made in ceramic (produced by David Van Reeth) derived from the UNSELF motifs. They are crushed, almost abstract. We are not far removed from archaeological remains which memory rediscovers. Those fragments are made out of “Bone China’, porcelain with bone-ash. As they are the same size, the horizontality of the table responds to the verticality of the screen: the seascapes responding to the self-portraits.

PSALM is the last piece in this puzzle. Paul Celan recites his poem from the 1963 collection Die Niemandsrose: “no one will bless our dust. No one”.

Just as there is a back and forth motion within SELFPORTRAITS, there is another one between SELFPORTRAITS and PSALM. There is, as Paul Celan suggests, “a road, a language without I and without You, nothing but He, nothing but That”. The exhibition UNSELF is an exposure of a face-to-face, or as Celan calls it in The Meridian: “a place where the person was able to set himself free as an — estranged — I”. In this attempted encounter there is the responsibility to “account”.

Françoise Berlanger, song:

Jean-Claude Encalado, lecture: