Singularity: the collection where the anonymous are not alone
I give some elements of the why and how of the Singularity collection.
The Who’s That Nude In The Living Room project, set up in 2009, brings together different collections. Singularity. A universe plunged into darkness, at the crossroads of theater and cinema. Window mannequins with disturbing gaze. It’s from this collection with his dark and intriguing universe that photographer Idan Wizen will give us the details.
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Hello, I am Idan Wizen, artist photographer. I’m going to talk today about the Singularity collection, which is the latest collection from the Who’s that nude in the living room project. In summary, very quickly, Who’s that nude in the living room, it’s a project that started in 2009 and who is there to talk about the diversity and uniqueness of the human race. A project that offers everyone the opportunity to come and pose in the simplest device, regardless of their age, regardless of body size, physique or experience. And we will keep a photograph of each human being to make an artwork.
Can you explain to us the choice of this decor?
The Singularity collection started in October 2021 and it is still in progress as I do this interview. It’s a collection that’s based on black damask curtains, like you have right next to me. There are going to be several layers, three layers of curtains that will allow us to have a depth, to give a particular perspective to the picture. There are always black plastic mannequins in the photographs like there is behind me, who will come to dress or in any case surround the model and give precisely a different and deeper meaning. And then it’s a photograph that’s taken using four studio flash, which will give us very marked lights, quite soft and at the same time rather disturbing, with luminous orientations that come behind the curtains and leave the imagination have a place to wonder what can happen behind those curtains.
Why did you choose to include window mannequins in this new collection?
The presence of mannequins, for me, I found very interesting, because it made it possible to give multiple meanings to the photographs. This is the whole idea of this collection, giving free rein to the imagination and interpretation of the viewer.These mannequins can represent many things depending on the photograph, but also depending on the viewer. They can represent the archetype of the idealized, perfect body. The model’s aspiration to be that mannequin without apparent imperfection. The hope, the desire or the desire towards the opposite sex or towards the same sex. It can also represent societal judgment, the gaze of others. And then also, we are still in a phase where we have barely out of the confinements of isolation, the relationship to the other, more generally. It’s something that I wanted to be very metaphorical. Very evasive and very dreamlike.
Why did you choose to dress this collection with several layers of imposing curtains?
Generally, when we are on a photo set. We will work on a single layer, we will have a background in a solid color, white or black, we can work on different colors. Possibly something textured. But often it’s only with one background. Here I wanted to design and think the collection with three levels of curtains, which could pass to the first, second and third plane, in front of the model behind the model and be able to play with these spaces. The idea was to leave areas of shadow, not only in the sense of light, but in the sense of questioning, of what could be behind. From there, where we could watch the model, from where the mannequins could arise. The idea was to give a different depth and to be able allow the viewer to interpret differently, again, to give multiple meanings to each photograph.
Why did you call this collection singularity?
Why did I call this collection Singularity? Because this paradox seduced me. Singularity, we easily understand in French,la singularité. We hear, we imagine, something singular, from unique to inseparable. And yet, it is a word which, depending on the areas in which it is used, has a lot of different meanings. In physics, in mathematics, in biology, in sociology. It’s a word, basically that we all know, but that we don’t necessarily master and above all that will change meaning depending on its context. And that’s what I liked. This is exactly what I wanted to say and express with each of the photographs in this collection.
Is there an opposition between the atmosphere of the project and this very dark collection?
I believe that joy is not necessarily expressed in a very expressive or shouting. I think I like melancholy. In this collection, in fact, we will really look deep within ourselves, in our unconscious, in our subconscious, the resources, the why, the questioning vis-à-vis oneself, vis-à-vis others, vis-à-vis one’s body, against nudity. It’s not necessarily something that we’re going to express very vividly. I have collections that I wanted to work on much more expressive things, much stronger like the Artificial Nature collection that you can discover on the website. But in this collection, I was talking about a state of mind, a desire, an interpretation. And basically, we are questioning and on emotions, on the feelings of the models, but also of the decor and the atmosphere. We remain questioning, we remain in something very sweet, very melancholy, very dreamlike, where we go into subtlety.
Does the atmosphere of melancholy have a relationship with today’s society?
Yes, I think we are in a society, let’s say pre post Covid-19, we are starting to come out of it, but not completely. And I think a lot of things have changed. People found themselves very alone. Or in any case, it has sometimes broken families, ties. It was a hardship for everyone. Of course, I’m not talking about the health hardship itself, people who have suffered enormously, see who have died. But I think of all those who were in good health and who experienced confinement, isolation, a curfew. It’s something that I think has profoundly changed people. We will see how it evolves, if everything will go back to the way it was. A few years from now. But I think there’s been a big change in the mainly young people. A relationship to his inner self which is different.
Are there any works you would like to tell us about?
A photo I want to tell you about is photo HB2296. It’s a photo that I really like, not necessarily my responsibility, but largely thanks to the tattoo artist who worked on the back of this young woman. I think it goes really well with the
curtains, with the mood. It almost seems, when you look at it from a distance, that it’s post-production that we added tattoos and they had the same design as the curtains. It blends in perfectly with this decor. She is there, very evasive. You can barely see her face, it speaks to me and allows me to dream, to go elsewhere.To see an artwork within an artwork, I find that always magnificent. When we think of nude photography, we often think of
eroticism, sensuality. When we look at my work, we will rather look at a descriptive work on the body, on humanity.
A photograph I want to talk about today is HB2332. It is a photo that speaks above all of loneliness, of social distress, of showing how much in our hyperconnected world, we are all in contact with people on the other side of the planet, via social networks. But, you can be very alone. This is what I wanted to express in this photograph where this man is sitting there, at the feet of this woman. Who is almost there, begging her, asking her, is it forgiveness or help, once again it will be up to the spectator to imagine, to see what he wants to see. But it’s something I really liked to talk about, I wanted to talk about something more than the body and being, and talk more deeply about a social being in this photo. A subject that is dear to my heart in all of my work. Whether on the Who’s That Nude In the Living Room project, or on my other collections and my other artistic works, it is the theme of freedom. It’s something dear to my heart, which questions me a lot.
There is another photo I would like to talk about which is HB2349. She speaks precisely of freedom, of this appearance of liberation. We see this pretty young woman tossing her hair back, getting out of her comfort zone and moving forward. But at the same time, when we look in detail, we see that she is blocked. She is blocked by the handles of the chair which prevent her from getting out. She’s stuck because she won’t let go of the mannequin’s hand. Is it his mother? Is it public opinion? Is it the gaze of others? In any case, she still has a link. She can’t go away or escape. She thinks she’s free, but there’s still something holding her back.
The collection is in progress, but is it already available for purchase?
Yes, you can now order those firsts prints from the collection. We don’t wait to finish the collection to offer them for sale, for several reasons, including economic ones. I even tend to say that I think the best photos, mainly in smaller formats, sell out very quickly. Usually a few days after their publication, so do not hesitate to follow the website, to follow the newsletters to see when there are new photographs published. And then let yourself be tempted if you want.