Face to face with the artist Idan Wizen
Idan Wizen tells us his story
Being an artist in the 21st century is no longer an easy thing. The mediums of expression are multiplying, and so are the ideas. How to succeed in expressing oneself and differentiating oneself in today’s society that overwhelms us with constant information flows? Artist photographer in the French capital, creator of innovative ideas and without fear of expression. Portrait of a humanist and committed photographer on the theme of freedom.
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Hello, I’m Idan Wizen, a visual photographer, mainly based in Paris. I work for advertising and fashion photography, but above all, I do fine art photography. I founded in 2009 the project Un Anonyme Nu Dans Le Salon, which is still ongoing, and since then I have done a lot of other artistic projects, which you can discover through exhibitions or on my website.
What motivated you to become an artist?
I understood that quite late. I always wanted to express my convictions, my ideals, interact with people, push them to think. I have always wanted to avoid conflict or political debate, which is often very harsh, and leaves people entrenched in their positions. What I like about art and visual art is the ability to touch the unconscious, to touch people subtly, in a dreamlike way, in an aesthetic way, to push them to reflections and to understand the point of view of the other.
Why did you choose to express yourself through photography?
If I chose photography, it’s because quickly when I started to draw, I realized that I couldn’t do anything else than abstract art, even when I didn’t want to. Photography quickly became a useful and practical tool for me. When I started to photograph, I quickly understood that you don’t have to photograph reality, but that you can also create your own reality and I find there all the interest in photography.
Did you need technical training to learn photography?
I learned photography mainly by myself, at least the technical part. Besides that, I studied at the University of Art in London, where I have a master’s degree. In this university, I learned composition, the eye for framing, but above all creativity, how to take, organize and transmit your ideas. I believe that this is fundamental when you want to make art. Then, the technique is learned, and the technique itself is not extremely complex, it is easy to do.
Becoming an artist, is that something you’ve always wanted?
No, for a very long time I didn’t think about being an artist, I wasn’t even sure that it could be a profession, and that it could be mine. I wanted and needed to express myself, and it came later, when I made my first pictures, and that people liked them, and that I realized that I could make a living out of it.
What are the ideals you express through your different artistic projects?
What we will find in my artistic projects as the common thread is the concept of freedom. The individual freedom that seems to me to be at the heart of my work. It is often freedom on which one does not fight anymore against others, which makes us deprive of freedom, but against ourselves, where one is going to be a victim of its own chains, its own confinements. It is for me a key work in my art, in the fact that each one can open out, grow, free himself, by confronting his own fears. More generally, I want to push the viewer to think, to question preconceived ideas and to understand the opinion of others who may be different, and to make them think, to be a trigger, without being in the frontal, abrupt, but rather by the accompaniment, by the discussion, by the look.
What is interesting with the work when you look at it, is that you don’t have a very precise idea, like a political speech, but you have something that will push you to think, that will make the spectator evolve little by little.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Of course, I am inspired by great artists that I admire a lot, like David Lachapelle, Jill Greenberg, Brooke Shaden, or Sacha Goldenberg, but not only. I am also inspired by all the pop culture, from Tolkien, through the glam rock of the 70’s and 80’s, to the Marvels and Star Wars of today. I believe that the world around us is a constant source of inspiration, I will find references in what I like, but more globally I am inspired by the political and sociological debates of our society, which is a source of inspiration and reflection for me.
Are you currently working on a particular project?
I am currently in the middle of writing a project called We Tomorrow, which is a bit of a futurologist’s project, where I try to imagine what man will be like in the decades to come. Man and more generally the societies that form humanity. And then, I’m still working on putting on exhibitions, both of Un Anonyme Nu Dans Le Salon, as well as other projects like Into The Box, The World We Left Them, or of course Hinders.
How would you define the Artist of the 21st century?
I think I like to fight against the idea that the artist is necessarily a marginal, someone who lives differently. I don’t think so. I have a rather simple life, I like to spend time with my relatives. For me, an artist is above all someone who must express free speech. We are in a society where everything is very polished, nobody likes to take the risk: the politicians who are afraid to lose their electorate, and who will always remain politically correct (it is the case to say it). But it is also true more and more for companies, for the media, for journalists, where we have the impression that everything is becoming more censored, we have a lot of trouble.
When you are an artist, you are totally independent, you can express what you really want, you are really free to try to pass your messages. We still need the media, companies that will allow us to exhibit; and we have to fight against this censorship and give free rein to different ideas, not to be in a monobloc of thoughts.
How do you live the different feedback you get from your interlocutors?
I like the exchange with the public. It is something fundamental that allows me to improve my work permanently, to understand other points of view, to progress.
I like it of course at the exhibitions, when we can have discussions, but I believe that I appreciate it particularly in writing, via emails, because writing gives us the time to have a more thoughtful, deeper speech. It’s true that I’ve had letter-writing relationships with friends, collectors, and people who follow me for years, which are really interesting. I try to make it a point of honor to answer all the people who write to me, to answer their questions, their thoughts, their remarks, whether they are positive or negative.
To see Idan Wizen’s work: