The staged body in contemporary photography
There are many similarities between photography and theatre, in aspects ranging from staging, creating characters and sets to a delight in storytelling. This theatrical dimension can be found across the discipline’s various fields and affects fine art, fashion and documentary images alike.
Extravaganza alludes to parody and whimsical spectacle, and brings together photographs that create worlds and portray bizarre universes. Everyday life becomes theatre here, gestures are dramatised and bodies staged to give rhythm to the narrative. In the varying degrees to which they prepare their images – representation or recreation – these artists, like the theatre, reveal the fact that reality and imagination are inextricably linked.
In an environment conditioned by social challenges, each relationship forms part of a vast symbolic game, sometimes to the point of becoming an actual performance environment. The photographic image captures these interactions, uses a lens to set them at a distance and invites us to smile at them. Like the theatrical arts, photography plays with its viewers, confronting them with mysteries and uncertainties. The image arranged in this way adds an element of anxiety to aesthetic pleasure by encouraging us to question it: is this real or fake? Was it taken from life or subtly constructed? To put it another way, it prompts us to ask a vital question: where is reality, pretence or even the realm of possibility?”
Julia Hountou and Ariane Pollet, curators
Galerie du théâtre du Crochetant | Montey | Switzerland
From 29 November 2013 to 27 February 2014