Presentation

Since « Sasha » (the intimist and dreamlike series, close to a fairy tale, she dedicated to her daughter and to the gateway between childhood and adolescence and then to young woman), Claudine Doury keeps questioning this intervening period of age, body and time, both fragile and violent, which is adolescence.

If in her previous pictures until now, men would only fleetingly appear as an extra, this time they are at the heart of « The New Man » which is a series entirely made in St Petersburg. This series echoes both the revolutionary imperative of Bolshevism of course and also this moment of slough and transformation  when the adolescent boy hatches into a man.

This is a transition, the crossing of a border, a real metamorphosis. The artist keeps on trying to capture and decode this moment so special and unique of a crisis and the coming to oneself.

By doing so, she questions the male identity ? what does becoming a man really mean ? And becoming a man in Russia i.e. in a changing country, which is completely different from the former USSR at the time of cold war and iron curtains ? And also and maybe more radically she positions herself like a woman who dares at last to look at men.


As men have always done most evidently with women, during centuries, no matter what their age.


This right to « female gaze » is quite new, we have to insist on it. This is the result of a long struggle of American artists  such as Sally Mann, proclaiming « I am a woman who gazes » and why not at men. This is a real looking conquest.


Claudine Doury says to all these Russian middle-class young men, coming from all over this huge country and going to St Petersburg to study arts and start a new way of living at the opposite extreme of their Elders : « Let me look at you » and take pictures of you.


There is neither superfluous decors nor needlessly sophisticated directing : only mere background images with muted chromaticism, stairwells, scaled walls?. Half-length bodies and close-up pictures on their faces


Whereas they all claim to be resolutely modern, turned towards arts and culture, connected with the rest of the world, and appropriating the codes of globalization, their portraits though, prove to be transhistorical, i.e. eternal Little Princes, Greek beautiful young men or archetypes of returning aristocrats. They all send us back to paintings of Léonard, Dürer or Holbein, more or less present in our iconic memory.


Some of them are of Slavic type, with a lunar skin, high cheekbones, an ice blue look and ripped muscles while others have the ambiguous charm of cut flowers, as fragile as slight and slim Saint Sebastian, oscillating, hesitating between genders.


Thus the question arises of what is masculinity ? That is a question to which it is difficult to give an unambiguous answer.


Claudine Doury does not answer this question, which is what makes her work so  right. She refuses to take pictures of teenagers who would be too masculine. You won?t find any « hipster » in her collection of new men ; she lets us confronted with the question itself, like the teenager is the hint of the man to be.

 

Dominique Baqué, December 2015

Agenda

21.02.2017

Signature by Claudine Doury of her catalog "L'Homme nouveau", Filigranes edition

10.12.2016 - 11.12.2016

Biography

Born in 1959. Lives & works in Paris.

She received the Leica Oscar Barnack award in 1999, the World Press in 2000 and the Prix Niepce for her entire work in 2004. 



Solo exhibitions (selection)

2016
- « L'Homme Nouveau », La Galerie Particulière, Bruxelles.
- « L'Homme Nouveau », La Galerie Particulière, Paris.

2014 - " Loulan Beauty" et "Artek", Espace Saint Cyprien, Toulouse
          " Sasha ", galerie Dityvon, Angers
          " Peuples de Sibérie ", Bibliothèque de Bobigny

2012 - " Sasha ", La Galerie Particulière, Paris          
          " Sasha ", Galerie Box, Bruxelles
          " Sasha ", Galerie Confluence, Nantes

2011-2012 - Pavillon Carré de Baudoin, Paris, France

2010 - La Fabrique du Pont d'Aleyrac, Saint Pierreville
          Théâtre de Brétigny sur Orge


2009 - Dali Photo Festival, Dali, Chine
          Galerie du Centre Culturel Joseph Kessel, Villepinte

2008 - Breda Photo, Breda's museum, Pays Bas

 
2007 - Galerie Camera Obscura, Paris

 
2006 - Médiathèque Saint Etienne

 
2005 - Médiathèque Noisy le sec

 
2004 - Picto Bastille, Paris

 
2002 - Galerie du théatre de la passerelle, Gap
          Centre culturel, Le Mans

 
2001- Hôtel de ville, Saint Ouen l'Aumône

 
2000 - Festival " Etonnants Voyageurs ", Saint Malo
          Parc de la Villette, pavillon Paul Delouvrier, Paris

1999- Musée Arctique de Rovaniemi, Finlande




Group exhibitions (selection)

2014 - Paris Photo Los Angeles, La Galerie Particulière, Paris
          Art Rotterdam, La Galerie Particulière, Paris
          Art Paris, La Galerie Particulière, Paris


2013 - Passages, Forum Meyrin, Genève, Swizterland
          Pulse Miami Art Fair, Miami

2012 - " Sasha ", Pulse Miami Art Fair, Miami
          " Sasha ", Les Photaumnales, Beauvais
          " Passages ", La petite biennale de la photographie, Blain
          " Vues en ville II ", Art Library, La Roche-sur-Yon
          " L'art de voir les choses ", Galerie Camera Obscura, Paris
          Art Paris, Art Fair, Paris
          " Vu à Paris ", Institut Culturel Français, Rabat, Moroco

 
2011 - Paris Photo. Le Grand Palais, Paris
          " Vu à Paris ", Institut Culturel Français, Rabat, Moroco


2010 - Paris Photo, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris
          Nominated Niepçe Award, Musée du Montparnasse, Paris


2009 - " C'est l'été ", Galerie Camera Obscura, Paris
          " 80+80 ", Photo-Graphisme, Pavillon Carré de Baudoin, Paris
          " Kreyol Factory ", Parc de la Villette, Paris

 
2008 - France Kunst Art Be. /Réfléchir le monde, Centrale électrique, Bruxelles, Belgique
          Agnès b. photographs collection, C/O Berlin, Allemagne
          " Woman of many faces/Isabelle Huppert ", Galerie du Manège, Moscou


2007 - Paris Photo, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris
         " Woman of many faces/Isabelle Huppert ", Fotomuseum, Den Haag, Pays Bas


2006 - Rencontres Internationales de la photographie, Arles
          VU' 80-80 Les 20 ans de VU, VU la Galerie, Paris
          " Woman of many faces/Isabelle Huppert ", P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York
          VU' à Paris, Chapelle de la Salpêtrière, Paris

2005 - Galerie l'Imagerie, Lannion
          Alguien nos mira, selection in the Fnac collection, Muvim,
          Valencia, Spain


2004 - Agnès b. photographs collection, les Abattoirs, musée d'art Contemporain, Toulouse
          Fnac Photographs Collection, la Conciergerie, Paris


2001 - Encontros de Imagem, Photo Festival, Braga, Portugal


2000 - Center of photography, Lectoure




Fellowship & awards

2004 - Nièpce Award
           Yann Arthus Bertrand Award


2000 - World Press Photo Award, Amsterdam, categorie «Nature and environment stories»


1999 - Leica Oscar Barnack Award


1997 - Fiacre - Ministery of Culture


1996 - Villa Médicis



Collections


Fonds National d'Art Contemporain, Paris, France
L'Imagerie, Lannion, France
Encontros da imagem, Braga, Portugal
Artothèque, La Rochelle, France
Agnès B., Paris, France
Le théâtre de la passerelle, Gap, France



Bibliography

L'homme nouveau, Filigranes editions, 2016, Text Dominique Baqué
Sasha, Le Caillou Bleu editions, 2011 - Texts Christian Caujolle and Melanie McWhorter
Loulan Beauty, Editions du Chêne, 2007
Artek, un été en Crimée, Editions de la Martinière, 2004
Peuples de Sibérie, Editions du Seuil, 1999

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Texts

Until I was 17 years of age, I lived in a small town in the American South. At 16, I decided to be baptized in a country church of the Southern Baptist denomination. It was not as romantic as the event might sound the scene of the beloved brothern standing knee deep in the silty brownish-red river donning their Sunday best with the minister preaching his religious oratory in a booming voice, the crowd wailing a chorus of amens and breaking out spontaneously into hymn. After hymn that was nowhere to be found. My baptism was much more formal, taking place in a sterile bathtub-sized tank which was usually hidden behind a screen decorated with a bucolic scene of rolling hills and a fading sunset, rendered in a palate of pastel blues, greens and purples. I imagined the entire congregation craning their necks upwards to watch with the exception of the elderly parishioners sleeping in the pews; those gray and wrinkled heads hung like sagging heirloom tomatoes on the vine. Those who remained awake watched through a window just above the altar as I gave my soul to the Lord. I stood limply in my white dress with long, wavy red hair ready for the minister, a portly, pale skinned Southern gentleman, to dunk me in the water. I felt light and soulless for only a second or two; then, he forcefully pulled me back into the material world. I was born again, so to speak. Now, I look back on a life not entirely fulfilled with the promises of that day and realize that not having any familial initiation ceremonies, this arbitrary decision at the age of sixteen might have been my own self-instituted rite of passage. Crossing the water was only one arbitrary milestone, but many other experiences dot my memory, some monumental, but most banal. Through all this, I was coming of age.

 The advent of womanhood is unavoidable whether the ceremonies surrounding this conversion are the same or not; if the girl makes it through adolescence, the woman is inevitable. Sasha, one such young woman, is undergoing a rapid transition. Her mother, photographer Claudine Doury, watches through the camera and we are all witness to what Doury selectively chronicles: the adventures of the child, not so young, but close to the completion of her childish follies. In this first chapter, the forest surrounds Sasha and her cohorts from the late summer into the fall of the year, from green to brown, from alive to dying.

 Turn one page to find Sasha covered in white powder or adorned with a simple white dress or surrounded by the pure, virgin snowfall. White is purity. White is sacrifice. Images of water give pause: Sasha appears once up to her knees, then to her neck and, later, following in a single file line of two into the murky water reminiscent of the aforementioned baptism scene. Water normally cleanses the palette for the taste buds, but this time offers respite for the eyes. Sasha's signs, or Doury's, (or my own imposed interpretations) are conflicting or indefinable: snow possibly being truth or rigidity; smoke, transition or blindness; water, purity, life-giving or life-taking; birds as messengers of knowledge or portent of ill. Through thousands of years of human history, these colors have become symbolic; these animals, metaphorical; and, ultimately, these pictures, allegorical.

 The second chapter takes us out of the open organic environment into the sterile human created interior of the home where the pace is much faster and life more stressful. We are sucked along with Sasha into the bell jar inside the delicate, clear glass where the exterior world is "blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream," as Sylvia Plath wrote. Oddly, Sasha rests inside with her eyes closed; an uncomfortable rejection of the adult world or refusal to see what is coming? In a stark contrast to the light-natured descriptors of childhood (and the first section): purity, innocence, exploration, truth; Sasha is now experiencing self-examination, powerlessness, confinement, sacrifice, and sadness: the struggles of transition. Doury's child often finds herself alone and trapped or confined, in the closet, in the bed by clear plastic wrap or under the burden of a much younger child. The weight is bearable, but clearly she is physically and mentally encumbered.

 The reflective surface, like that of the water, appears, but dreadfully. Sasha may attempt to divine her future in the mirror as she pulls off a translucent, distorting, age-defying facial mask or upon the surface of the shiny orbs. Her blond Samson's locks are removed and contained in a box. A chorus of religious and Jungian iconography finishes with the close cropped Pieta, the child resting almost lifelessly in the lap of a young friend glazed by the Rembrandtesque light of the fading day. She is seeking comfort and safety in the young female arms.

 In the final short chapter of this book, there is lightness possibly in opposition to darkness, though it is not without burden. We find Sasha back in nature. She has come outside of the house and of herself. She spins, runs, plays. Like most girls before her, she has passed through adolescence into adulthood unscathed. Finally, Sasha has emerged, not alone, but with the first male figure in this narrative. We watch them from behind both blindly running into the smoke and expanding forest beyond. The story has not ended, but this chapter is closed for Sasha and her mother.

 Vermeer's subject in The Girl with the Pearl Earring is a young girl whose identity is speculated upon by many but truly known by no one; Lawrence Weschler notes that none of Vermeer's female subjects should be read as archetypes: "If she is standing in for anything, she is standing in for the condition of being a unique individual human being, worthy of our own unique individual response." We will look upon Sasha in judgment trying to discern our own meaning from the images, but we can not define all that Sasha is or, for that matter, all that her generation is from this one sequence of images. She can represent no one but herself. From one event at sixteen, I could not have predicted a life for myself devoid of overtly pious endeavors. That was one event, like geological layer seen on the side of the mountain, a bygone ceremony covered by the sediment of many memories. We are formed by events we cannot predict and sometimes cannot control. We can look upon Sasha in the narrow constructed window we have on her life, but we cannot foresee her future self. The book holds her in the perpetual state of now, and here forever, she will be holding her breath, being dunked in the lukewarm water, losing her breath and her being momentarily, only to find herself ready for a new life, her own life.

Melanie McWhorter

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Press

L'âge du trouble

L'âge du trouble

01.03.2017

L'Oeil

Mâles de pierre

Mâles de pierre

16.12.2016

Le Vif - Week end

L'adolescence vue par Claudine Doury

L'adolescence vue par Claudine Doury

01.03.2016

Beaux-Arts Magazine

Claudine Doury

Claudine Doury

06.02.2016

Arts - Libre Belgique

Portfolio - Claudine Doury

Portfolio - Claudine Doury

01.11.2013

Réponses Photo

Doury, Mère et fille

Doury, Mère et fille

30.11.2012

Connaissances des Arts

Photo Teen-Age

Photo Teen-Age

07.01.2012

Madame Figaro

Palace Costes

Palace Costes

01.12.2011

Palace Costes

Photographies (1999-2010)

Photographies (1999-2010)

29.10.2011

Telerama

Le temps suspendu

Le temps suspendu

26.10.2011

Télérama sortir