A work of art is good when it is born out of necessity. It is the nature of its origin that judges it.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet.
The hoax of Roland Dorgelès, Et le soleil s'endormit sur l'Adriatique, has brilliantly shown how one can mystify both the public, afraid of appearing to be a philistine, and certain art critics, whose imaginations are aroused as soon as they twist the language to over-interpret the image, as long as they are given a notice of intent — the sacrosanct approach – which is not lacking in verve.
In 1910, in Paris, Roland Dorgelès set up a communication operation aimed at discrediting the Salon des Indépendants, an exhibition dedicated to marginal and avant-garde painters and devoid of a selection jury, where artists could therefore exhibit freely. He had a parody published in several newspapers which he called the Manifesto of Excessivism :
We proclaim that excess in everything is a force, the only force… Let us ravage the absurd museums, trample on the infamous routines. Long live scarlet, purple, coruscating gems, all these tones that swirl and overlap.
J. R. Boronali
He then had a brightly coloured canvas painted by a donkey with a brush attached to its tail, which produced a sort of abstract marine landscape. The work was then exhibited at the salon, its author presented under the pseudonym of J.R Boronali, and elicited the expected reactions : the proponents hailed the boldness and inventiveness, the anti yells about the decay of art, the uneducated public laughs, the educated public tries to hold back in order to appear open-minded and avant-garde. All this is helped by the newspapers in which Dorgelès feeds the polemic. The work is sold for 20 gold louis, or nearly €160,000 in 2020, after which the deception is revealed and the avant-garde mocked.
This trial of contemporary art in the form of a joke illustrates the position, caught between the hammer and the anvil, in which art has found itself since the 20th century : on the one hand, elite culture, recognized and legitimized by experts whose legitimacy is itself based on arbitrary social structures (schools, diplomas, institutions, co-optation, positions and functions), on the other hand, independent, alternative, and/or popular cultures, open to all impostures for simply being open and easily mocked when they become incomprehensible to the greatest number. All this under the paradoxical injunction to constantly reinvent art and to innovate, without deviating too much from the classical canons and falling into rubbish (as defined by… nobody knows whom). Habit seems to have resolved this paradox by the use of the approach, a sort of justification for the artist for having produced his work, which sets him apart from the vulgar decorators of walls and makes him an intellectual with a halo of cultural capital.
There will therefore be, on this website, neither pompous notice of intent, nor declaration of profound approach, nothing but images to look at while abstaining from smoky interpretations, and which are nothing but images, that is to say lies. What they try to say is only my business, what you try to get them to say is only yours, and what they show speaks for itself. If I present lying images here, it is to avoid lying words. And if I present them at all, it’s because I found something worthy of interest to me, and therefore probably worthy of interest to you.
#Who am I ?
The world likes binary structures, easy to understand : on one side those who see the glass as half full, and the others, who see it as half empty. Personally, I’m a third type : one of those who see a glass to be filled and get up to fetch the bottle, without really understanding why the others camp blissfully in front of the glass while procrastinating on the nature of its being.
After dubious beginnings in landscape and macro photography, genres that I quickly got over, I started portrait and nude photography in engineering school to break with the cold and procedural technique and to frequent more varied milieus than the future engineers, whose social and political awareness tends towards zero, convinced that they are to incessantly enter the elite of a social system they have therefore no need to question. When I was younger, I learned to play the piano (including a few years at the conservatory) and I used to draw by myself in my room. By the time I reached the university level, the sacrifice of my artistic activities for the sake of academic success and systemic conformity was starting to weigh heavily on me, and taking them back was a matter of mental health.
The salvaging breath of doing portraits, however, was short-lived. Frustrated by the possibilities of my photo editing software(darktable), I started to get interested in image processing algorithms, whose mathematics is fortunately quite close to the thermodynamics I was studying at school. I learned in 2 months to program in C to be able to modify darktable and obtain the visual results I was looking for by developing my own processing filters, which I put at the disposal of the public under free license (open-source). Users are encouraged to support my work with donations.
Since 2018, I am a “full stack” photographer, doing both shooting, retouching, software algorithms for retouching (including research and development on color processing filters, and user interface design), but also lighting and sometimes makeup. I contribute every week to the development of darktable and I teach, in video via YouTube and in private lessons, the retouching and the color management with this software. I also develop myself the important parts of this website to ensure a better coherence between content and form.
In photography, it is first and foremost the human subjects that interest me, either directly in the frame of the image, or indirectly via their impact on the elements present in the frame. I like to meet and discover people, analyze their way of thinking, and make pictures of them.
I have a project in the works to digitally enable artists so that they can free themselves from the elite culture and its pimps, to help them distribute their work while depending on a minimum of intermediaries (technical and financial), come back regularly to have news.
Grojnowski, Daniel. L’âne qui peint avec sa queue. In : Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales. Vol. 88, juin 1991. Les avant-gardes. pp. 41-47. DOI : https://doi.org/10.3406/arss.1991.2980 ↵