MOTHER & DAUGHTER II, the book:
48 pages, 7 colour plates, 275 x 210 mm
with essays in german and english by
Dr. Stéphanie Boulard (Professor at Georgia Tech in Atlanta USA), Christophe Cartier (painter and co-founder of visuelimage.com) and Christoph Tannert (curator, art cristic and director of Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin)
each copy is signed and numbered by the artist, accompanied by a limited edition print of Hydra and will be printed in an edition of 100 + 25 press copies by Seltmann & Söhne, in Lüdenscheid, Germany.
Available for 129,80 Euros.
[inspirit - graphicbureau]
Extract of the book:
translated from French by Matthew Kay
"What are these bodies doing? What figures are they creating?
They are endlessly composing, decomposing and recomposing the bond
which unites them. A continual exploration of connections – this is perhaps
how we could begin to describe the art of Diane Ducruet. She explores
what connects and disconnects, what unites and what divides. In the
figures and forms that she (de)composes she questions several enigmas:
Family, origins, words, parts of the body, everything that devotes us to
curiosity, exploration, representation and the secrets of desire.
If, in her compositions, the body is the central theme – the body in its
infinite possibilities, the body and its endless metamorphoses – it is to
better redefine its centre of gravity. It is to better distance ourselves from
the weight of gravity and to propose a lighter alternative, a more playful
one among the endless possibilities of connections and disconnections in
a tender, teasing game of two. And so these two bodies, side by side, play
at constructing and deconstructing, making a puzzle, twisting and turning,
heads down, feet up. They play on several dimensions, several levels. They
bend, they interlock like acrobats, they walk a tightrope, they multiply
before us, and then grow three heads. If the compositions of Diane Ducruet
are in several parts, each element is alive. It is clear that the bodies are
not (re)composed randomly, even if the aesthetic is one which surprises
us. She makes a game of the montage, of the construction. The question
is one of displacement – strange bodies, loving, magnetic, a disturbed
vision. It is through this experimentation that Diane Ducruet builds her
images in the same way we dream. What we must retain above all is the
temptation of the undecidable and the unpredictable. Man Ray said it
in his famous anagram Image = magie (magic). And if magic is present
here, it is because the artist/photographer succeeds in her double bet of
making fun of gravity while reviving Ovid’s Metamorphoses.(...)"
I want to thank all those who, in one way or another, made possible
the realization of this publication :
Sophie Agrapart, Alain Astruc, Ardis Bartle, Sheona Beaumont, Claudia Behrend, Carolle Benitah,
Didier Béquillard, Phillip Bojahr, Michael Bolus, Yves Bres, Marcel Burg, Marie Philippe Casabianca,
Docher, Stephen Gaignard, Francoise Gandon, Anne Goulier, Vincent Gouriou, Caroline Hazard,
Barbara Hoyer, Matthew Kay, Thomas Kellner, Caroline Kubon, Benoît Lainé, Sarah Lefèvre,
Yann Lootgieter, Marie Maurel de Maillé, Jean-Marc le Minoux, Barbara Nascimbeni, Grégory Naud,
Claire Nys, Helga Oberkalkofen, Corinne Perdrix-Hans, Florian Perotton, Monica Ruetz,
Pauline Rühl-Saur, Tania Salvador, Guido Schmidt, Emmanuel Simoes, Stéphanie Smagghe,
Jonathan Steelandt, Bénédite Topuz, Julie Traumann, Sylviane van de Moortele, Cécile Vazeille,
Alfons Willeke, Frank Willeke, Nora Zelnik
Art works dedicated to body representations
The works by Diane Ducruet appear as a monumental project which, to some extent, is a substitute for traditional art, presenting art as life captured without dividing it into private matters, landscape or portrait. Perhaps this state could be described as “post” life of a post-man in the post-feminism in the aspect of post-art. A number of art critics and philosophers try to describe the situation “after” or “post”. Zygmunt Bauman in his book Płynna nowoczesność (Liquid modernity) (Krakow 2006) has presented changes within modern society and crisis of traditional distinctions concerning a family. To some extent these postulates concern also Diane’s works.
She has been taking them since the mid-1980s. Grimaces, strange postures, tomfoolery are the means to search for the artist’s “self” which is indefinable, since it is changeable and slips out of all rules, including the tradition of works by Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, but also perversion of body-art. Being a French, Muslim, or maybe a man >from the photograph by Robert Doisneau constitute a search analogical to the one conducted by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and then Witkacy in their photographic self-portraits. Is it disguising the identity or dispensing with it? Each one of them played with photography and with its use was hiding his artistic and private identity.
But in Diane’s photographs conceal archetypes of modern painting, including Goya or Caravaggio, which serve not as a symbolic message, but as a knowingly reduced basis for creating a compositional draft of a picture. Interesting are remarks of Milou whose comments concerning her works can be found at http://www.dididuc.com. Very important are photographs in which Diane “plays” with her body, creating artistic forms from, for instance, her breasts. This is tradition of body-art; however, it is important for feminist art, e.g. Slovak Dorota Sadovska. Other self-portraits reveal the desire to be (at least for a moment) an angel, perhaps crucified, or a witch from Goya’s painting. Diane often changes convention so drastically that it is difficult to discover archetypes, which become disguised, hidden, and thus unclear, which is a positive distinguishing feature.
Does such a dressing up with no beginning and no end make sense? Yes, it does, since it expresses the only possible state of the present and of lasting, as we know nothing about the future. We are in the “post” time. In these photographs there is a lot of camouflaged information – we can guess at various citations, or maybe sampling. Are these images dramatic, obsessive, or are they the result of putting on a mask, hiding one of several psychical identities? I am not able to answer this question. Perhaps there is no answer to it so far!?
The world as unlimited (re)construction
by Krzysztof Jurecki
It is the continuation of self-portrait; however, it is in color. The face is masked and changed, also by the way of presenting works which involves multiplying an image.
Family album (since 1995)
It concerns the father, mother and brother, who initially were captured in singular photographs. Later, photos of the father were presented in a tableau Father is dancing. Originally the works were entitled Dialog. They constitute fragments of paintings. Diane’s father was presented as St. Thomas from Caravaggio’s painting. Dialog consists of authentic, but also acted out scenes which refer to memory, a trace, as well as to vanishing. The images are full of melancholy – once young bodies fade, die slowly. They are full of sorrow, although deprived of fear and despair. It is also a dialog between the artist and her parents, not an easy dialog, rather empty, theatrical gestures. However, large format photographs, unlike the previous ones, can make an impression with their importunity, entering the intimate world of parents’ relations. Nowadays everything undergoes the process of deconstruction, is being taken to pieces, rationalized and deprived of any mystery.
Zoos and other series
These are reflections, fragments of reality, uncertainty of the moment. An elephant strolling in a photograph, or rather in our imagination, for a moment becomes a stone sculpture. An animal personifies and continues iconography of people. A dog can be as sad as a human being, so its psychological condition can be depicted. That is why in other series pictures of animals are mixed up with portraits of people. Diane with ease moves on from one topic to another, although she tells about the same – about the lack of constant references, lack of distance to people and events, since everything is covered by an unreal mist of fiction, fantasy and real episodes. The situation is similar in the next series.
Male characters are exaggerated, caricature-like, they remind of amateur photographs rather than criticism of consumer society by Diane Arbus from the 1960s. The series destroys the myth of a Renaissance man, developed and supported by modernity which attacked traditional values.
It seemed to me that Diane’s works followed the path of belligerent feminism of the 1970s or 1980s represented by Marina Abramowic, Natalia LL, or Orlan. However, they are more complicated. On one hand the whole culture, and thus art, expresses such leftist postulates, e.g. Pedro Almodovar, and on the other hand tries to modify them, combine with religious spaces, including Gnostic, which was achieved probably only by Natalia LL. However, the young generation, to which Diane belongs, has experienced the victory of feminism, obviously limited to certain spheres and phenomena of culture and political life. That is why this state the artist herself calls the state “after”. What does it mean? Diagnosing own “psyche” and “bios”, analyzing faces, masks, body, but also family, and in broader sense also society she lives in, because in this way the series Zoos can be perceived. These works still attack status-quo, although make use of modern benefits offered by consumer civilization. For Diane art is an endless text, and her task is examining grammar of the language of personal relations.
What does Diane depict?
She is aware of any fragment of the reality taking place either in Bratislava, Berlin, London or any other place. Each manifestation of reality is potentially important for her, even if it is seemingly trivial. Out of each situation she creates an image in her own, usually pessimistic style. In her works, just like in works by Arbus, the state of reflection upon the situation of a human being prevails; reflection which is also melancholy understood as sorrow and grief (but not despair) because of vanishing beauty, or the lack of it. Diana’s world is very pessimistic, decadent, maybe a little egocentric, but also familiar, as it expresses the state of searching and awaiting. Although it is unclear what and whom is being searched for and awaited. Religiousness of her artistic vision has been reduced to minimum, to iconographic patterns only, and it does not concern the myth any longer. But on the other hand, however, these photographs evoke compassion to everything that vanishes, what is transient and fragile, just like life.
"The world as unlimited (re)construction"
by Krzysztof Jurecki
Translation: Maja Hrehorowicz
More from the author: http://omniekrzysztofjurecki.blogspot.fr/2012/07/kolekcja-fotografii-krzysztofa.html
Article published in “KWARTALNIK FOTOGRAFIA” Nr. 22/2007
Published September 2008
Box containing 2 books of 48 p. each
24 x 18 cm
B&W + color photographs Diane Ducruet
drawings by Sophie Ducruet
Includes 10x10cm signed artist print (cover pic)
40.00 euros Including shipping to Europe/US
Translation by Caroline Rainger, Patrizia Bandollero
Publishing House www.lecailloubleu.com
"I heard the farmer’s wife talking to her cockerel.
Her voice was soft and her words were sweet while her pink hands chopped off its head. As the blood flowed, so did her speech, but later not a word was uttered as she sat on her stool and plucked him... Serving up a goose, offering alcohol or a cigarette... We are well-mannered in the face of pleasure, and in any case the most moving of all pleasures is murder in a good cause.
So it goes with floods, drowning people like cats, freeing the Earth of its rubbish and bad habits ... When you do away with the past, not everything goes into the dustbin at the same rate... The last century was difficult for the monarchs and later became unbearable in the shadow of the holocaust. There have been plenty of victims over the past hundred years, those that the papers talk about and those no one cares for. But one has intrigued me for some time, and that is the family (...)"
Milou - excerpt of the Text "Family Album 2008
"J'entendis la fermière parler à son coq. Elle avait des mots aimables et des accents de prêtre pendant que d'une main rosée fut cisaillé le cou du volatile. Tant qu'il y eut du sang il y eut des paroles, mais plus un mot sur le tabouret à l'instant de la plumaison... Servir une oie, offrir un alcool ou une cigarette... Nous avons de bonnes manières avant le plaisir et de tous les plaisirs le plus remuant c'est le meurtre pour la bonne cause.
Ainsi fait le déluge, noyant les hommes comme des chats, débarrassant la Terre de ses immondices et de ses mauvaises habitudes... Lorsqu'on fait table rase du passé, tout ne rentre pas dans les poubelles à la même vitesse... C'est bien pour ça que le siècle fut difficile aux monarques avant d'être insupportable aux gazés... Il pleut des victimes depuis cent ans, celles dont parlent les gazettes et celles dont tout le monde se moque. Il y en a une qui m'intrigue depuis longtemps, la famille (...)"
Milou - extrait du texte d'introduction à Family Games 2008
At first glance, it looks like everyone in the family is having fun, acting out goofy scenarios for the camera. Well, yes, it’s a family of artists, and each seems comfortable revealing playful, creative poses that are far from ordinary family snapshots. But on closer examination, we see that this extended performance of role-playing and intimate interactions is serious art, and not quite so light and frivolous as it seems at first.
In a brilliant new photo book called Family Games, French photographer Diane Ducruet has broken free of all the usual formulas and has come up with a thought-provoking series of staged portraits that play with the ideas of family dynamics, identity, control, influence, postures of power, and more. The work becomes a kaleidoscope of subtext as members of the family slip in and out of expected roles: mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, husband and wife.
In one series, the males of the family (father and son) seem not the least bit embarrassed to be pictured dressed only in underwear, with slightly sagging bellies, as they assume comic-heroic poses that mimic old paintings and historic statues.
Ducruet stages the scenarios and makes photographs, while her mother sketches each pose from a slightly different perspective with charcoal on paper. In one hilarious stance, the father poses as an archer ready to launch an invisible arrow with an invisible bow. Ducruet photographs him from below, with his foot perched on lichen-colored solid rock. He appears a bit ridiculous, like a modern-day Quixote. Her mother draws the same scene (perhaps exaggerating the size of the belly), and both views — photo and drawing — are presented side by side.
This is just one of many poses in this series, and the women are clearly directing the show here — the men perform as they are told. It’s funny, but it has an undercurrent that creates a taut tension.
This box of family photos continues to explore variations on the themes of family influence, manipulation and control. In a group called "Dialogues," Ducruet’s mother and father are literally in each other’s faces with odd shows of affection — pinching cheeks, biting each other, and tweaking noses. The metaphors are clearly intentional, and the friction feels real.
In "Performances of the Ordinary," Ducruet turns the camera on herself as she assumes awkward and absurd poses, poking fun at herself. In one pose she sits half-nude with a huge sausage stuffed in her mouth. Nothing seems sacred. The "Mother and Daughter" sequence becomes even more troubling. A series of black-and white portraits show the two as they silently ridicule each other with straight faces. Is this judgment? Jealousy? Sarcasm?
In the aptly titled closing sequence, "Pulling Faces," Ducruet is center stage again in grids of self-portraits as her face is repeatedly poked, prodded, pinched, pressed, stretched, distorted and tugged by hands from outside the frame. Are these metaphors for how our parents and siblings try to mold us and shape us and define us all the way into adulthood? Is this a comment about the outside pressures and forces that we must endure and resist daily as we strive to be individuals?
Family Games is clever work, and worthy of a careful look.
Jim Casper, About "Family Games" 2008
A première vue, toute la famille semble prendre un grand plaisir à faire le pitre devant l’appareil. N’est-ce pas là une famille d’artistes, où aucun n’éprouve le moindre problème à révéler un visage joueur ou à prendre une pause originale à mille lieues des photographies familiales habituelles ? Mais à y regarder de plus près, on s’aperçoit que le spectacle de ce jeu de rôle et d’interactions intimes relève d’un art sérieux, moins léger et frivole que prévu.
Dans un remarquable livre de photos intitulé Family Games, la photographe française Diane Ducruet s’est libérée des recettes habituelles, pour proposer une série stimulante de portraits mis en scène et se jouer des idées de dynamique familiale, d’identité, de contrôle, d’influence, de position de pouvoir ... L’oeuvre devient un kaléidoscope de sous-entendus au fur et à mesure que les membres de la famille se glissent dans leur rôles, puis en sortent : mère, père, soeur, frère, fille, fils, mari et femme.
Dans l’une des séries, les hommes de la famille (le père et le fils) se dévoilent, nullement embarrassés de paraître en sous-vêtements, malgré leurs ventres bedonnants, ni de singer, dans des postures grandiloquentes, des peintures anciennes et des statues historiques. Tandis que Ducruet met en scène ses scénarios et prend ses photographies, sa mère redessine à la mine de plomb chacune des poses, sous un angle légèrement différent. Dans une attitude hilarante, le père prend la pose d’un archer prêt à décocher une flèche invisible (voir la couverture du livre). Ducruet le photographie de bas en haut, un pied posé sur un rocher couleur lichen. Sa posture de Don Quichotte des temps modernes lui donne un air un peu ridicule.
La mère de Ducruet dessine la même scène (en exagérant peut-être la taille du ventre), et les deux vues – la photo et le dessin – sont présentées côte à côte. Il s’agit là d’une pose parmi d’autres dans cette série où les femmes dirigent clairement la manoeuvre, les hommes se contenant de suivre leurs instructions. Et si l’image est amusante, elle dissimule des sous-entendus à haute tension.
Cette suite de photos familiales poursuit ses variations sur le thème de l’influence, de la manipulation et du contrôle. Dans un ensemble intitulé “Dialogues”, les visages du père et de la mère de Ducruet sont à deux doigts de se superposer dans d’étranges élans d’affection (ils se pincent les joues, se mordillent, se prennent le nez). La métaphore est clairement intentionnelle, les frictions, elles, ne semblent pas feintes. Dans “Performances of the Ordinary”, Ducruet retourne l’appareil vers elle-même avant de prendre des poses inconfortables et absurdes, n’hésitant pas à se moquer de sa propre personne. Dans l’une d’elles elle est assise, à moitié nue, une énorme saucisse fourrée dans la bouche. Plus rien ne semble sacré.
La séquence de “La mère et la fille” s’avère encore plus troublante. Une série de portraits en noir et blanc nous les montre alors qu’elles tentent chacune de tourner l’autre en dérision, silencieusement, mais avec un grand sérieux. Se jugent-elles l’une l’autre ? Se jalousent-elles ? Ou s’agit-il de moquerie ?
Dans une dernière séquence judicieusement intitulée “Pulling Faces”, Ducruet se replace au centre de la scène dans des autoportraits décapants : son visage est tour à tour tapoté, touchoté, pincé, pressé, étiré, déformé et tiré par des mains hors cadre. S’agit-il d’une métaphore des tentatives par nos parents et nos proches de nous modeler, de nous structurer et de nous imposer leur vision de l’adulte ? Ou est-ce l’image des pressions et des forces extérieures face auxquelles nous devons lutter chaque jour pour nous affirmer en tant qu’individus ?
Family Games est une oeuvre subtile, qui mérite une profonde attention.
Jim Casper, sur "Family Games" 2008