Les Miroirs d'antan
De Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand installation 2015
When the first photographic images appeared in around 1830, with the pompous name of Daguerréotypes, the general public was so intrigued by the shiny, metallic appearance of the support that some elegantly called them *“mirrors that remember.”
Today, is someone who has never seen a daguerreotype aware that the image we perceive seems to be constituted by a delicate mist placed on a highly polished silver plate, faithfully delineating a portrait or a landscape? Are they aware of the extreme complexity of the process behind a ridiculous level of photographic sensitivity? Do they know that its substance is poisonous because it contains mercury, and precious by virtue of its amalgam with gold salts? Do they know of the need to protect this fragile image under a screen of glass? Do they know that it is impossible to see it correctly in full daylight? Surely not, but yes, we can promise that they will be amazed to discover the beauty of the medium.
My Miroirs d’antan (Mirrors of Yesteryear) thus use this rich photographic medium in the service of “subjects” that are just as exceptional, such as relics of ancient human skulls from different peoples and civilisations, all modelled, adorned and rendered sublime in order to pass through death and defy the dust of time. Many, many thanks to my friend, a discreet collector of extreme curiosities, who gave me the chance to discover his precious treasures then granted me the favour of being able to place on my silver and gold plates the image of 11 of these trophies. I had the idea of pairing this almost holy work with Les Guenilles (Rags) and Les Véroniques (Veronicas) which are like photographic ex-votos, freighted with the strangeness of 6 torn and numbered old shirts or the mystery of 6 dissolving faces.
Oeuvre de Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand produite par Le Fresnoy :