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Bernard Faucon

Provence, France  b.1950

Bernard Faucon was one of the first photographers to master the constructed image creating photographic mise en scène that convincingly distort reality. His series Les Grandes Vacances composed in the late 1970s became pioneering subjective reality photographs that would push the genre to the forefront in the 1980s. Faucon’s method in this enigmatic and nostalgic series was to employ both mannequins and sometimes actual children to create intricate staged scenes that reflect playful, yet ominous situations from an idyllic childhood. These scenes are dreamlike, but are not entirely innocent. The unusually memorable and striking compositions subtly evoke heightened feelings and emotions, which could be linked to memories of viewers’ own childhoods. Commenting on his initial inspiration for the series, Faucon says, “The idea of fabricating fictions, the idea of a possible equation between photography and the dummies, struck me quite out of the blue. Childhoods made of flesh and plaster, the many lights of the Luberon, the nostalgia and actuality of desires, crystallized together through the magical operation of the photographic record. The power to fix, eternalize in light, attest to the world the perfection of an instant.”

Of a later series entitled, Les Chambres d’amour composed during the 1980s, he says, “These images are the heart of my personal strategy.” Faucon seems to reflect a desire to express his own interiority through the creation of these chambres. Yet the mystery still remains, for he never directly reveals the true meaning of his enigmatic work. In 1995, he stopped taking pictures. “One way or another,” the artist declared, “I had to eventually make true my claim to finish, my obsession with closing. This became the series The End Of The Image.” Faucon chose to develop his photographs using the highly exclusive and controlled method of color printing known as Fresson printing. This method of printing produces an image that is characteristically diffused and subtle making it one of the most painterly of photographic processes considering the colors are each applied separately and seem to float one atop another. It is also considered to be the most archival and stable of any color processes used today.

Born in Southern France in 1950, Faucon is not only a conceptual photographer, but also a poet and philosophical writer. He attended Sorbonne University in Paris until 1973, receiving a degree in philosophy. The highly influential art dealer Leo Castelli was the first to introduce Faucon’s work in the United States followed by his soaring popularity in Asia. He has had over 200 solo exhibitions featuring his contemporary fine art and has published several books. Faucon’s work is included in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie among many others.

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