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Impregnated with the seventies and especially the eighties , I fell very early in the photographic baths, but it is since 2010 that I have oriented more towards artistic photography by attending the photographic workshops of the Academy of Fine Arts of Namur ( B), supervised by Catherine Lambermont and then by Olivier Van Rossum .

Whether it is film (mainly) or digital (occasionally), my photography is essentially expressionist, aiming above all at emotion, projection, memory reminiscence through portraits, self-portraits, male nudes and takes. long exposure or multiple exposure views. I thus project my feelings, my imaginations, my anxieties, my fantasies there too and invite the spectator to do the same. In addition, I practice slow and absolutely not spontaneous photography. The projects, which often extend over several years, require long reflections, long preparations of the material, the framework, the model.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

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La photographie est une émanation du réel passé et, dès lors, elle ne porte pas sur l'objet mais sur le temps, sa représentation pure

                                        Roland BARTHES

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Inspiration and Influences

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Coming from the '70s and especially the' 80s, one of the first sources of inspiration was undoubtedlyRobert Mapplethorpe , accursed artist, saint and martyr, proclaiming himself a classic idealism revised and corrected by the libertarian New York of the 1970s. Sculptor at heart, he transcends the photographic object: " I want people to see my works first as art, then as photography ", constantly in search of the object with perfect plastic, obsessed with the quest for beauty, aesthetics, perfection. To do this, he explores the most refined silver print techniques, from platinum prints to dye-transfer.

Then comes the work ofJoel-Peter Witkin , also a visual artist and photographer, first considering the image as a sculptural achievement. He composes baroque scenes in a morbid atmosphere, fascinated by physical strangeness, deformity and death that can occur at any time. Heterogeneous assemblages of pieces of corpses, fetuses, deformities, physical and sexual strangeness whose ultimate goal is to approach all the beauty and ugliness of the world, without editing, without gluing or special effects. His work is a mirror of the truth, not decadent but desperate and metaphysical.

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Nan Goldin wrote (in "Ballad of sexual addiction", 1986): "I never want to have to depend on the version of my story seen by others I never want to lose the memory of true. 'one person '. Contemporary and spontaneous photography, a vital struggle between dependence and freedom, a reconstruction of history and a reappropriation of memories. The photographs are memories that show everything, hide nothing like a poignant testimony to the human condition and the difficulties of life.

Francis Bacon was the dark chronicler of the human condition, painter of violence, cruelty and the tragedy of being and existence: " To paint the cry rather than the horror ". It arouses in me an emotion of great violence and undoubtedly its purpose was to provoke a shock, a primitive, even primal reaction, seizing the spectator at the heart of his isolation and his irremediable fatal destiny.

#Egon Shiele 1910 autoportrait.jpg

As for the work of Egon Schiele , it recomposes the world against the forces of madness and death. Reclaiming form, reappropriating the body by segmenting it, deforming it, dissecting it and thus attempting to control, as much as possible, the senses and the moods. The bodies then reconstruct themselves through and at random poses, appearing in all their singularity, to ward off death.

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Impermanence and obsolescence

A few words of explanation ...

The lesson that I can draw today from a practice of forty years of photography, in corollary with my professional practice as a psychologist and psychotherapist, is in summary that we do not and will never have access to private spaces. individual. What a person agrees to deliver to us, to show us of his "interior", of his interiority inevitably passes through the filter of our own representations and are only interpretations of this interiority.

The photographic image does not escape this axiom because it is at the heart of an interlacing of gazes and constantly reinterpreted by the filters of our representations, the very ones that refer to our intimate self, to our history (or our stories), our life experiences, our memories, our memory. And we know to what extent these memories are selective, they determine our interiority, inaccessible space.

Jean Genet ( in "Le journal du voleur", 1949 ) wrote about the story: " It is not a search for times gone by, but a work of art whose material-pretext is my life in the past. will be a present fixed with the help of the past, not the other way around. So let it be known that the facts were what I say but the interpretation that I draw from them is what I have (become). "

The spaces of memory and therefore of the past, of our history, are constantly reshaped by our experiences and therefore by our present: they question our own temporality. But thus our benchmarks constantly change depending on whether we draw from one or the other drawer of our memory. Object photography is an emanation of this past in relation to the present, which modifies its meaning. To this is added the "looking", the spectator, who soaks up and immerses himself, touched by his affects, his personal emotions and his own mnemonic reminiscences.

My images are built and developed on my memories, my projections, my representations, my imagination, my fantasies too. They therefore constitute a reconstruction, like the expressionist painters, a staging of my interiority. They in no way attest to what was, or even what is, just a telescoping of gaze and memory. We have all had this experience where, crossing and observing these places that we frequented as children, everything seems so different to us, different, strange. The filter of time has passed and escaped us. It sends us back to the impermanence of everything. Because everything comes to an end, impermanence causes the flower to wilt, anger to pass away, the birth of the child and confronts the living to its inevitable end. The passing hours give us the illusion of permanence on a human scale, but nothing can resist time, except perhaps stones and literature!

So, through my photography, I try to break with this impermanence, not by freezing time through the image but by harmonizing gaze and memory.

Edmund White ( "Nocturnes pour le Roi de Naples", 1983 ) writes: " We label the sensations of childhood with words that we learn as adults and we speak with gusto and aplomb" the anguish "," the despair "and" the happiness "of old (...); all these words had no meaning for us at that time; what we lacked, children, was precisely the power of designation and order of language; also , when we describe the emotions of one moment in our life with the words of another, we only stick labels on hermetically sealed trunks, qualifying as "fragile" or "perishable" a content that we could not. not recognize even if we were given the opportunity, one day, to see him again . "

So, like Gaston Bachelard ( "The poetics of space", 1957 ) and inspired by Roland Barthes ( "La chambre claire", 1980 ), from the cellar to the attic, I search the drawers, open the cupboards, I look under the bed, which is hidden in the cubbyholes; then I peek beyond the curtains, open the windows and soak up the difference to reclaim it and rewrite my own story through my images.

I subscribe to impermanence, in my own temporality. Impermanence is movement, displacement and therefore change. As for the living, it is matter and movement. Life is part of this creative flow that is impermanence, just like death which becomes its symbol, since it leaves room for something else. Everything I watch will sooner or later disappear. About his series "Impermanence" , the South Korean photographer Seung-Hwan Oh will say: " (...) It is the idea that matter, including all life, always ends up collapsing in this spatio-temporal dimension that we know (...). It is an aesthetic of creation and destruction intertwined and ephemeral. "

Philippe REMY - April 2020

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Water - Portraits - Male nudes

Encore quelques mots d'explication...

Whether it is photographs in long exposures or multiple poses, whether it is portraits or male nudes, my entire photographic approach is part of the moving flow of impermanence ...

The water, constantly in motion, reflects a changing, moving image with uncertain contours. Ambivalent also because it dialogues between the visible on the surface and what is undoubtedly hidden in depth. Fluid is also life: water questions us about our limits, our humanity and our relationship to time, space and the world.

The portraits (and perhaps more particularly the self-portraits), by freezing initiate the change, they allow the journey in the memory, or rather in the intertwined memories of the "watched", of the photographer and of the "gaze". The first, which is sometimes also the second, entrusts its disembodied existence and becomes other, something else. As for the third, he immerses himself in his own affects, in his personal emotions ( Roland Barthes: "La chambre claire", 1980 ). " These photographs of a being in front of which we remember him less well than by contenting ourselves with thinking of him " (Marcel Proust ). There is tempo in portrait photography.

The naked body is timeless, nudity renders the image neutral, devoid of social, cultural and spatio-temporal landmarks and ultimately only presents the viewers with raw, modular and interpretable forms. Moreover, if they show a body which, at one often fleeting moment, was in front of the lens, object photography simultaneously creates a distance between the subject and the viewer, a physical, temporal and phantasmatic distance which allows all daring. More than any other representation, the nude questions our values, our culture and our interiority, our own representations of the body and sexuality. It constantly sends us back to our finitude. There is therefore a large part of projection in my nude photographs, which is why, by identification, I mainly photograph male nudes. I am probably also much more sensitive to male plastic.

Philippe REMY - February 2019

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By its realism and a certain form of authenticity, photography has since its beginnings opened up a new field to the representation of the body and does not really know any taboo. Indeed, if it shows a body that has been well in front of a lens, it simultaneously creates a distance between the subject and the viewer, a physical and temporal distance but also projective because, inevitably, the image of the body arouses in the spectators an emotional and mnemonic flow, even phantasmal.

Nudity undeniably passes through social and cultural filters (and censorship) and its image bears the mark of conventions that will be significant of collective representations. The threshold of "admitted" nudity varies greatly depending on the place, time and social status. It is therefore the image of the body in its representations that is questioned and not the body: the nuditas naturalis , the naked, primitive, non-socialized man (in the sense not considered as coming from a particular social group). ). Already in antiquity, nudus [ Latin ] meant "indigent", devoid of everything, in a position of weakness and vulnerability. For a long time, images of nudity (total or partial) have meant poverty, distress, begging but also manual work, holiness, in short a social status. But with the "Civilization of Mores" of the nineteenth century (and until the mid-twentieth century), the threshold of modesty is greatly raised and, with it, the feeling of shame and guilt in the face of nudity. At least it was so in the Latin countries (Mediterranean outline) because the Germanic and Nordic countries generally display less social modesty. And with the rise of intimacy also refines the distinction between private and public space, these bodies that can or cannot be shown.

From the Renaissance, religious and profane artistic representations of naked bodies have multiplied, with intense reminiscences of ancient perfections. Ancient statuary exalts the nude which is obviously not a sign of weakness but more a representation of strength, health, beauty and grace. The gaze is eroticized from then on, without forgetting that before decorating the galleries of museums, these works were private commissions!

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