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the awakened


When I began to see images of forceful, harassed, meditative, enigmatic figures rising out of the darkness, I understood that these silhouettes, while real, were also symbolic. They were bearers of something other than their mere presence: of a kind of energy, an aura inexplicable except in terms of the complex alchemy of the synergies at work between the silhouettes and a world to be transcended. 

To gain access to the clearest, simplest signifier possible, infinite interactions take place within a global mechanism in which creator and created object fuel a constant dialogue. Between self and self, self and the world, self and object, self is the object.

When I look again at these photographs, a host of images that have marked out my existence come back to life: as if they contained an infinite assemblage of palimpsests whose concentrate is the final image . . . I think of the colour white, which in itself contains all the colours of the electromagnetic spectrum. Of situations, lessons learnt, splendours and miseries, beauty and the sordid, poems and noir fiction, desire and disillusion; but tiny details too – or at least moments thought to be details and which, by the grace of the revelation that is the photographic process, transmit a quite different message to me once tested by time and filtered through work.

  One morning, after a night of uncertainties and hesitations, I named these silhouettes "the awakened". They emerge from obscurity, from the sidereal darkness, from places where all light is absent until the moment when life finds its way in. Life in this case is consciousness, awakening. These isolated figures always generate the contradictory forces that balance out our world. In doing so they keep us from slumbrous lethargy.

I then created created a formal structure giving these characters the greatest possible impact: an elemental, almost "skeletal" architecture, enhanced by "enlightening" contrasts. Once again so as to ward off distraction or going back to sleep. A black backdrop and, most often, a character within a landscape in which he serves as punctuation, in a meaningful relationship.

This character bears alone the weight of the human condition. His gestures, his silences, his impulses are universal approaches through which each of us can or must manage his relationship with the world. He is at once tiny and gigantic, lost and fully present. Etched into his silhouette we can find the reasons justifying  – or not – his presence in any given place. A presence that could be inappropriate were it not for the fact that the force that drives him transcends the perceived landscape. He is a catalyst, he is a consciousness, Awakening is lying in wait for him.

The landscape is the awakened's testing ground. There the elements are potent, sometimes gigantic, often disquieting. The test he is undergoing resembles his inner landscape: lowlands saturated with darkness, roads to follow like some random maze, higher ground to be climbed.

But the landscape needs the awakened one, just as he needs it for his becoming. They complement the energy whose genesis springs from the equilibrium of their encounter.


Michel Kirch

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