“The Anonymous” reveals a society made up of individuals often forgotten by the higher spheres, a society in which everyone is the actor of their own lives, a society bereft of all judgments and a priori. For, yes, the face is the mirror of the age, of social class, of humour and, sometimes, of a part of history. It reflects everything that encourages us to or discourages us from looking at an individual, approaching her, talking to her.
Blocking the perception of the face of the other is a vision that can shock or amuse. In any case, we are caught up in and traversed by a strange sensation. This series question the notions of diversity and morality, as well as the role and place of individuals in Western society.
Queens, a working class borough in New York and a renowned centre for street art, is awash with memories of happenings and events that have taken place between the 1980s and the present. At the heart of the borough is a kind of factory of the world’s best known graffiti artists, including Pat de Liloo, Meres and Banksy. This site, which has since been destroyed, was a point of reference for successive generations of artists exploring urban art. Every stretch of wall, every stone was impregnated with a signature or representation, often in flamboyant, pop art colours. This site, laden with the atmosphere of the 1980s and 1990s, served as the backdrop for numerous action films and dramas, notable among them Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York”.
Questioning the history of icons, as well as the collective imagination, the artist proposes a series of photographs that play on the perceptions and references of the spectator, and feature the superheroes of his childhood, with what remains of this incredible neighbourhood serving as a stage. The photographs are fictional last traces of a past era that bore witness to so many events and hosted so many artists.
In this series, Grégoire Soussan presents Oscar, a transformist artist, in what is certainly the most confidential moment of his life. The moment in which the individual is most faithful to his essence: the time of metamorphosis. The exceptionally complex stretch of time in which man projects himself into woman to attain paroxysm.
Grégoire proposes the dignity of this
breathtaking and sensual man in a series of
images that we will never be able to forget.
The series explores our questions: What does the onlooker see? What emotions are generated? What sentiments? The images become metaphors of our own feelings, between fantasy and reflection, shamelessness and intimacy.
Leaving to one side the purely technical evolution of the medium of photography, it is impossible to ignore the fact that portraits are omnipresent in our lives. Representing the other and of the self is a practice that, originally singular, has become ordinary thanks to the emergence of new technologies and the enormous number of faces circulating across the media landscape. What continues to really amaze, charm and bewilder us is the art of the photographic portrait. Grégoire Soussan has always worked in this vein; indeed, it is in exploring the other, in capturing instants of life, either those of a celebrity or of an anonymous individual, that he reveals all his talent. The artist works on the aesthetic aspect and on the very essence of the subject he photographs in order to obtain the most accurate, the most beautiful, or the most dignified portrait. Grégoire explores all the resistances of faces, up to and including their erasure, with a view to capturing his subjects in all their immediacy and spontaneity. Classical and without artifice, his portraits present only the force of the subject and its alterity.
How do we react when confronted with violence? Are some kinds of violence more easily borne than others? Is fiction less serious than reality? Airsoft is considered a game but is nevertheless a dangerous sport in which players put themselves at the risk of injury. Remaining objective, Grégoire questions our limits and our perception of violence in a permanently unsettled world.
Two photographic portraits lie dormant in a trunk for 17 long years, one of a woman, the other of a man, both evidently bearing the scars of war. The woman is a former school mistress, the man a former soldier, decorated for valour. Photography reveals a moment in time, a living person either lost or gone. But, above all, it constantly sends us back to an irredeemably past era. With this diptych, time has definitively passed, not only in the life of these people, but in the photographs themselves. The artist decides to replace high quality ektachromes with ektachromes damaged by time and humidity, thereby revealing the past of the subject and of photography itself. Between survivors and ghosts, heroes and victims of war, our imagination loses itself in an interzone of dreams and reality characterized by a panoply of fantastic colours.
For the philosopher Jean Grenier, a friend of non- figurative painters, “it is the accident that makes the artist”. What is true for the plastic artist is also true for the artist-photographer. Artists, always alert, capture the random events that shock, astonish or move them. Accepting chance and its results, Grégoire Soussan integrates elements into his artistic approach that are not remotely linked to his personal initiative. In effect, from New York to the Hollywood Hills via the Paris Region, accidents are a fundamental part of his creative process. Meanwhile, images become evidence for prosecution.
Based on his research on the relationship between reality and fiction, Grégoire takes a new approach to the domain of illusion. Here, the artist combines the genres of photography and painting. Enhancing his photography with the medium of painting, he presents us with a new kind of oeuvre that makes it possible to address new perspectives. The expressiveness permitted by abstract painting adds another element to these photographs, making space for a new interpretation involving an emotional depth based on a deformation of photography itself.
— Barbara Lagié