Liberty : nature in the image of being
Idan Wizen talks about the Liberty collection, from the project Who's That Nude In The Living Room?
The project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?, set up in 2009, gathers different collections. Liberty, with its delicate and offbeat decor, intoxicates us with its countless purplish flowers in fabric. Idan Wizen, its creator, tells us a little more about this dreamlike universe, conducive to escape.
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Hello, I am Idan Wizen, an artist-photographer in Paris. Between 2018 and 2019, I created the Liberty collection, from the project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?. It is a collection that includes 198 photographs, and like all the photographs of the project, the people who came to pose on this collection were not cast, were not chosen. They are everyday people, who were taken as they are, without retouching, with their bodies as they are in their natural state.
Why put naked people in the middle of purple flowers?
Above all on the Liberty collection, what I wanted to talk about is a theme that is very dear to me in all my artistic works, it is individual freedom. This freedom in general, where we will constrain ourselves, towards the look of the others, towards the social pressure.
For this collection, we were strongly inspired by the English fabric “Liberty”, which gave us the idea of the title. But it is also to work on these purple flowers, which represent, according to me, a nature altered by humans, nature which is always in perpetual transformation, in evolution. The whole idea of this contrast between man in his natural state and this transformed, disguised nature, is to show that we could evolve, that humanity could evolve at the same time as nature.
This flowery decor, especially in pink, is often associated with the feminine? What did you mean by having men pose?
I don’t totally agree. I don’t think pink is necessarily associated with the feminine. The pink and purplish tones of Liberty for me are above all synonymous with serenity, appeasement, tranquility, not necessarily femininity.
In my opinion, the fact of posing in the middle of these flowers for a man does not question his virility, does not question anything. These are above all tones that I like, that I appreciate, that I find beautiful on men as well as on women.
Was it intended to create a contrast between the decor and the traditional image of masculinity?
No, I don’t think so. When I think about a collection for the project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?, I don’t think in terms of men and women. I think primarily in terms of the human being, regardless of gender. What matters to me is that the photo speaks of the feelings, the sensations, the feelings that we have as human beings, no matter if we are a man or a woman. I created this collection to suit everyone, men as well as women.
Besides, the titles of the photographs all begin with HB and then a number. The number is simply the order in which the person came to pose, and HB means “human being“. Just that.
It’s a universe opposite to Purity? Isn’t it complicated for an artist to have such different styles?
It’s true that we ask the artist to have the same style, immediately recognizable throughout his career. I find that extremely reductive and a shame. Often it is above all for commercial reasons. If we are able to recognize the artist directly, it is easier for the customers, for the press, for the buyers and it is very selling.
For my part, I try to make sure that my approach remains constant on my vision of things. On the other hand, graphically I want to evolve, to do different things, to follow my desires, my passion, my inspiration of the moment and I don’t want to constrain myself to do only color or black and white photography, or very pure things or very busy things. I want to remain very free in this.
How did you manage to make this decor full of flowers? By retouching?
Oh no, it’s not retouching! There is no retouching on the photos. The flowers were really there. They are fabric flowers. We had more than 20 m² of fabric flowers in the studio. And thus the models lay down or were upright directly on it.
For the small anecdote, the flowers are in fabric, but they are maintained between them by small plastic stems, which are not extremely pleasant, not necessarily comfortable. If on the pictures, people look calm, relaxed, in general, it hurt their feet, or elsewhere when they were on it. But that’s the magic of photography.
Can you tell us about your favorite pictures?
I don’t have a favorite photo, I love them all. After that, I can tell you about a few that have a particular resonance for me. I believe that what counts above all is the resonance in the eye of the viewer. Even if it can speak to what I want to say, remember to go and look at it yourself.
A photo I want to talk about is HB1746. It is for me a photo that represents the oxymoron of emotions. We see him serene, free. He has totally forgotten that I am there, taking his picture. He is almost in a position opposite to what his size and his massive body make us think. He is the opposite of the diktats of fashion, he is the opposite of many things, and yet he is there, happy to be there. His happiness makes the picture shine. It is a photo that I like very much, that I find very strong and that does not leave indifferent.
I could also tell you about HB1669, which is right behind me. It is a photo that I like very much because it speaks to me of this inner strength that we all have deep inside us, that we can go and get from a serenity. When I see him, I see someone who has fought almost all his life, and who has finally found his balance. He is still a bit precarious, full of introspection, but he has a balance.
Introspection is something fundamental in my opinion. It is what allows us to evolve, to become better beings, to progress in life. This photo, when I look at it in the morning, it pushes me to have a reflection on myself and to improve myself as a person.
A photo that evokes many things to me is the photograph HB1778. For me it is the paroxysm of freedom in this photograph. It defies everything, all constraints, all conditioning. It even defies the laws of gravity. We see her escaping from the decor. She is totally free, she has freed herself from everything that could hold her back in her past, in her education. She moves forward to become a free, better, fulfilled person. It is a photo that touches me a lot, and that does not leave me indifferent.
Liberty is a collection with very present colors and a setting very loaded. Did it please the different clients?
Liberty is a collection that pleases, but I think that when I make a photographic series, I don’t ask myself if it will please, if it will go with the color of the sofa or the interior of the people. I don’t think like that. And I think that when you buy art, that’s not what you ask yourself. We don’t buy decorations, for that there are very big brands that work very well and that make unbeatable prices.
When we buy art, we buy it above all for its emotions, for what we feel, for the ideas it represents. You buy it for all that, beyond knowing if the colors will go well together. And I believe that a good work of art, well-framed, well laid out, goes anywhere, no matter the colors, the size or the formats etc. I think we should go beyond that and not confuse the purchase of art and decoration.