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« Livre au miroir ».

Can we depict a personality without portraying a face? Can we describe the character of a public personality only through the words they themselves use to describe their personality, character, story and professional life?

When we choose a book that represents us in reality, we put into play the innermost dimension of our being, especially when the cited book has contributed to shaping our identity.

This project arises from a reflection on the possibility of « depicting » the portrait of certain personalities of the French-speaking cultural and social world by drawing from the book that they have chosen to tell their own story through their public – but also private and professional – traits. The personalities represented were not selected at random; they are persons who have a direct or professional relationship with the written page and who have turned writing into an essential instrument in building their identity.

The innovating scope of these “text portraits” consists precisely in presenting them in the context of a historical library so as to stimulate an interesting dialogue between books laden with the history of our society and displayed in a such a special place, and the works conceived as non-depicted portraits: an interplay between writing and imaging and, for this precise reason, capable of revealing the innermost personal and secret details.

The exhibition stirs a dialogue between image and text on the key importance of reading and of its physical vehicle; on the beauty and the importance of a text, no matter how simple.

The personalities

The most representative personalities of french 21st century culture will be invited to take part in the project. They use writing to define their professional commitment as writers, plastic artists, musicians, poets, actors, filmmakers, essayists, also expanding to the universe of science.

The project

The project is an artistic process consisting of putting together a book, a personality and the artist in the perspective of making the artwork spring out of this encounter.

Every personality is invited to choose what represents his or her cultural and professional identity and to write a 400-word text to illustrate the reasons for this choice.

This text enables the photographic artist to create two images of the book: one of the interior, interpreting the key elements provided by the personalities to represent the essence of their choice (a sentence, a word, the title of a chapter or a whole page); and one of the exterior of the book, highlighting its being part of the personality’s life-experience.

The artwork

Each artwork (100x70cm) comprises two photographs of a book shot by the artist and a text written by the personality who chose that book, printed on a single paper panel.