Into The Box / The World We Left Them / Virtual Street Art
Idan Wizen gives us his opinion about his other art projects
He is mainly known for Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?, the art project that has been going on for over 12 years. But this is not the only big project realized by this artist-photographer. Three other projects. All very different. All very committed.
How to divide the time between the different projects and continue to bring up the issues at the heart of our society? Meet Idan Wizen, artistic photographer, who tells us the stories behind his other creations.
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Hello, I am Idan Wizen, visual artist. You may know me for my work Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?, a project about the body. Today I’d like to tell you about my other art projects and photographs.
Virtual Street Art
Virtual Street Art is a particular project that regroups photographs from the Purity collection of the project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?. With photographs and shots of urban architecture I create compositions in order to mix the two. I integrate the black and white photos of Purity on large walls as if they were made in street art. The whole idea is to rethink the place of nudity in the public sphere. Can it be visible to everyone? Is it disturbing? Is it shocking? This is the basis of Virtual Street Art.
Do you think this project could be realized in real life one day?
I would love to. I would love to see my photographs reworked as street art on large walls. Unfortunately, given the evolution of our society, where we are headed, I don’t think so. I think there is more and more prudishness, puritanism. And besides, it’s a rather hypocritical prudishness. I would love to, but I don’t believe it. At least not in the short term, in my opinion. Afterwards, if someone offers it to me – with pleasure.
The World We Left Them
Another collection I made is called The World We Left Them. These are portraits of children, mostly done in very large format, as you can see behind me. The print behind me is 1m20 x 1m20. The whole idea in this work is a reflection on next generations, on future generations and the world we will leave them. They represent for me the children to be born, the children to come who will question us on what we did, on our collective responsibilities, as well on the environmental, social level, on the whole of aspects in our society where, sometimes, we will manage things in a very concrete way for the present moment, without necessarily thinking of the future and the generations to come.
How important are the titles? Are they an integral part of the series?
Yes, for each picture of The World We Left Them the titles are really important, they are really part of the work. They are very strong titles, very engaged, a little bit like reproaches that these future generations could make us. Don’t let me starve : it’s a real reflection on overpopulation, on food management, on food waste. It’s this child who, in thirty, forty, fifty or a hundred years, I don’t know, will complain about us, as if we could have this intergenerational dialogue. The titles are really important and fundamental in this collection. For me they cannot be differentiated from the work, they are as much a part of the picture itself.
Is the goal to change things?
To change things, I don’t know. I would like to, but I think that things are not changed simply, easily, just by decree. What I am trying to do is to propose an awareness, a reflection, an intellectualization of the problem in order to start to have a way of thinking, of reforms, of measures, of concrete things to do, to make progress. The themes addressed are very broad and range from the societal and economic to the ecological level. I certainly don’t have the miracle solution by snapping my fingers. Often, when we think we have a miracle solution, in fact, it is very harmful on other levels. Indeed, I would like to make things change, but I also know that it is complex, it is necessary to go with moderation, reflection, and then with time, without precipice either, to push to the reflection, to the awareness in any case.
Do you consider yourself as a committed artist?
A committed artist, I don’t really know. I’m not sure what that means to me. The artist is there above all to express ideas, a vision of things which is his own, a different vision. I am not sure that one can have contemporary art without commitment, without taking a position, even if it is a position that can be very consensual. The answer is yes and no. In any case, I believe that it is necessary not to be extremist in taking a position, it is really necessary to look at the two sides of a coin and to always have relatively measured proposals, by taking conscience of many things, of all the factors that that implies. So, yes and no.
Into The Box
The Into The Box is a collection that was made during the second French confinement. Getting used to lockdowns, that’s why we had to keep busy. We couldn’t exhibit, we couldn’t receive models in the studio, so we wanted to make this collection. It is a collection that, of course, speaks of the suffocation that we can suffer within the lockdown, as well as at work, but also in everyday life, while not being able to go out to dinner. I believe that all the French and most of the people in the world have experienced this situation which was unprecedented and very complex.
It’s not your habit, but you appear in the picture?
Yes, indeed, you certainly recognized me, the man who appears in the photos of Into The Box is me. In general, it’s true that I’m more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it, but here I wanted to appear for two reasons. First, very concretely and pragmatically, it was very complicated to receive people because of the lockdown and so I felt like doing it. The second thing why I didn’t mind appearing in these photos was because the lockdown, the suffocation due to all this, I experienced it like anyone else. So I felt able to represent the feelings, the expressions, the emotions that I wanted to convey through this collection.
Who are the 3 other models present in the pictures?
The three beautiful girls who appear with me in the photos, they are in fact my collaborators. They are not models at all, they are the three people who help me to work in the studio, as well on the communication, as on the logistics. And to avoid bringing in models, as we were in a period of lockdown, the four of us were working in the studio and they, like me, had felt this feeling of oppression by the lockdown, this feeling of suffocation. The four of us had fun becoming the models for the duration of the collection. I am delighted with the result and I thank them for their participation in this beautiful project.
Is there a double reading?
Yes, indeed, speaking of this box, it is clearly a metaphor for lockdown, but not only. The lockdown has deprived us of a lot of freedom for sanitary reasons, but even if it can be extended it remains temporary. These are decisions that go beyond decisions, social reflections. I thought it was symbolically important to talk about this boxing up of people. We are going to characterize them more and more. We will say that such and such a person must do this, must do that. We look at people much more for what they are, rather than what they do. It’s a bit of a reproach to today’s society, which wants to fight for more social justice, but at the same time will really compartmentalize personalities into pre-established patterns of thought. It also symbolizes all that this collection. This will that we have to break walls, to go out of the box, not to let ourselves be suffocated, and to show that each individual is a complex person, with his history, his past, his future, his aspirations, his fears. And that we are far from just labeling him as a woman or a man, that he will be ratialised or not. I think we always have something much more complex and it’s a shame to generally limit people and put them in boxes.
Where to find these pictures?
What I would advise you to do first of all is to go and see them in an exhibition. You can go to my website to see the list of upcoming exhibitions, both in France and around the world. And if there are any near you, don’t hesitate. I think seeing them for real is really different. And if you can’t wait for the next show, you can always see them on our website, and then eventually in your living room, by ordering them directly on the online store.