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The Redesigned Skin – Idan Wizen at the La Lison gallery

La peau repensée - exposition de photographies d'art

The Redesigned Skin - Idan Wizen at the La Lison gallery

From February 16 to March 14, 2023
5 rue Pierre Chausson - Paris 10 - France

Opening: Thursday, February 16 from 7 p.m.

About this exhibition

"An ode to the beauty of the most diverse bodies, encouraging us to overcome the shackles and stereotypes of standardized aesthetics"

La peau repensée - exposition de photographies d'art

Telling a story, sublimating the body, becoming a canvas of Masters… The image of the tattoo has evolved considerably in a few decades. Our modern societies have democratized and valued it to make it a very respectable tool for bodily and artistic expression!

Today, 1 person out of 5 is tattooed in France. No more hiding. No more reason to be ashamed.

In Paris, since its opening in 2006, La Bête Humaine has been a benchmark in tattoo parlors. What better place than the contemporary art gallery La Lison, antechamber of the Human Beast, to host the works of Idan Wizen as part of his photographic exhibition, “The Redesigned Skin”.

Since 2009, Idan Wizen has photographed, without casting and without retouching, everyday people, in the simplest device, in an artistic work called “Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?”.

This photographic approach is an ode to the beauty of the most diverse bodies, encouraging us to overcome the shackles and stereotypes of standardized aesthetics. But it is also a reflection on a being removed from any socio-cultural context. The individuals photographed in this way have no clothes that indicate who they are on a daily basis. The decor pulls them out of a place or an era. The absence of a name prevents us from gleaning information. They are what the viewer wants.

However, among the nearly 3000 people who make up the work of Idan Wizen, some, with their tattoos, push you and encourage you to guess who they are or could be. These tattoos, eternal markers on their skin invite us into another narrative, one at the crossroads of this body art and the systemic work of Idan Wizen.

The exhibition “The Redesigned Skin” offers us a modest journey on bare bodies and redesigned skin through around thirty works, as surprising as they are authentic, accessible for acquisition and carefully selected over nearly 15 years of photography.

H0314 - Pirata by Idan Wizen
La peau repensée - exposition de photographies d'art

Telling a story, sublimating the body, becoming a canvas of Masters… The image of the tattoo has evolved considerably in a few decades. Our modern societies have democratized and valued it to make it a very respectable tool for bodily and artistic expression!

Today, 1 person out of 5 is tattooed in France. No more hiding. No more reason to be ashamed.

In Paris, since its opening in 2006, La Bête Humaine has been a benchmark in tattoo parlors. What better place than the contemporary art gallery La Lison, antechamber of the Human Beast, to host the works of Idan Wizen as part of his photographic exhibition, “The Redesigned Skin”.

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H0314 - Pirata by Idan Wizen

Useful information :

From February 16 to March 14
Monday to Wednesday: by appointment only
Thursday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

La Lison Art Gallery

5 rue Pierre Chausson, Paris 10

Learn more about the project "Who's That Nude In The Living Room?"
Order an artwork from the exhibition
Read more about Idan Wizen
Exposition Backstage

Backstage at the Image In’Air gallery

EXHIBITION

Backstage at the Image In’Air gallery

From 09 December 2022 to 31 January 2023

Exposition Backstage

The Image In’Air Gallery, which is located exactly opposite the Center Georges Pompidou, will represent us during temporary exhibitions of several series from the “Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?” project. Thus, every two months, you will be able to find a different collection there. You will be able to choose the photograph that appeals to you the most, according to its dimensions, from 20x30cm to 80x120cm.

And we are starting with the Backstage series, which is generating real enthusiasm from the spectators! This series, entirely in black and white, is an invitation to travel through the codes of film noir and an exploration of the ultra-detailed body, where each grain and roughness of the skin stands out, letting the stigmata of each person speak.

We are proud to share this great news with you and we invite you to visit the Image In’ Air gallery at 113 rue Saint-Martin, 75004 Paris, every day from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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What is Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?

INTERVIEW VIDEO

What is Who’s That Nude In The Living Room?

Idan Wizen tells us more about his artistic project Who's That Nude In The Living Room?

Meeting in his Parisian studio. He presents us his photographic, humanistic, and committed approach. And more specifically his project Who’s that nude in the living room ?, an artistic work that underlines the uniqueness, beauty, and diversity of the human race.

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Would you prefer to read than watch a video?

Could you explain what Who’s that nude in the living room ? is?

Who’s that nude in the living room ? is an art project that I started several years ago where I photograph different individuals in the simplest cloth, naked, to try to show their uniqueness and at the same time diversity. Today I have photographed more than 2000 people in different collections. Aesthetic photos, without vulgarity, without pornography, and which I try to do as authentic as possible towards every individual. 

 

What did you try to express through these photographic works?

When I started the project, it revolved around three main ideas. The first was the place of aesthetics: I wanted to show individuals, beings, bodies, younger, older, skinnier, curvier, different in any case from what the fashion and advertising industry accustoms us to see on a daily basis. To show the bodies that we don’t necessarily see in magazines, on advertising posters, and to show that by their differences, by their uniqueness, they can be beautiful differently, elseways than with perfect measurements. They can be beautiful by a look, by a smile, by an attitude, by an expression. To show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and not in dictates of measurements. 

The second point I wanted to work on was the place of modesty. Ten years ago, we were in a society which, even then, was already moving towards two extremes: on the one hand, more and more omnipresent, unsolicited pornography, whether in the newspapers or on the Internet; and on the other hand, a revival of Puritanism, where the body is demonized, frowned upon, excluded from social networks, whereas it was always present in the art history. Between these two extremes, I wanted to show healthy nudity, without eroticism, more natural nudity, the one with which in general one is born and remains the entire life, nudity that doesn’t shock, just the one that describes the body. I thought this was the case ten years ago, I think it is even more so today with the revival of Puritanism very present. So I wanted to propose to everyone to come, to dare, to defy a little bit the codes, the taboos, and to dare to assume, to expose their bodies in the simplest of ways. 

The third point was a reflection on attraction, on what we like in a being when we take it out of any socio-cultural context. When I was a teenager, we had a lot of posters of music bands, models, actors, and we identified with them. The other type of photo we often have at home is family photography. In both of these cases, you have a very figurative photo, which describes someone as you know them. Here, I wanted to take the opposite approach: I wanted us to be able to dream, to imagine a being without any information about him or her. We have neither his name, nor his profession, nor his environment, nor his age, nor his clothes, which position us socially, they are never neutral. The idea was really to push the absence of information to the maximum, to let the spectator, the collector of the photograph, dream, imagine who could be this person

 

Through the project, we can see many totally different universes. Can you tell us more about it? 

Over the years I wanted to continue the project but to make it evolve graphically, aesthetically, to add meaning to each collection. Year after year, you have different collections, with a different graphic style, with different images, which take up the same ideas, the same concept: an individual where only one photograph is chosen, no casting, no retouching, but which let me set up different backgrounds and universes. 

Each universe must allow me to express myself as an artist, to add a reflection on today’s society, and also not to make the same print, the same light, the same photograph for ten years, and to be able to change and to offer something else to collectors. 

 

To have the idea is one thing. To undertake is another. Can you tell us about your first session? 

The first session was a bit by chance, I was very young, I had just finished my studies, I was just starting out in active life, I didn’t have a photo studio yet. I remember looking for a place where I could photograph the first people, and we ended up in the living room of a friend’s parents, while they didn’t know about it, and were on a weekend. We were able to take the first photographs there. The first models were the people who trusted me, friends, friends of friends, who came by word of mouth, when I didn’t have much to show (I had just come out of school), and who trusted me, who dared to stand naked in front of my camera, that’s when I did the first photographs. Then, quickly they pleased, I was lucky to have more and more people who wanted to come and pose. 

 

Today, how do you find your models?

Today it’s rather the people who come to find me via the website, they hear about us via exhibitions, via word of mouth, via social networks. The idea is that they register directly on the website, they choose their time window when they want to come and I know nothing more about them. When we open the door, that’s when we discover them, their name, their age, their profession, their history, the reasons that push them to come, which allows me to ensure that each session is unique, different, and where I try to make the photograph that will correspond to everyone. 

 

Where does the title Who’s that nude in the living room ? come from? 

The title Who’s that nude in the living room ?  was for me the purpose of the project: to acquire a work of art of a person we don’t know, of an anonymous person, and to exhibit it in our living room. I have often been asked “Why in the living room?”. Because when I started the project, I was a student in Paris and like most students in Paris, we live in a studio that is a living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, toilet, because of the rent prices, and because we didn’t have other rooms. In my mind, it was the living room THE room overall. Today you can put the artwork in the room you want, or even put several in each room. 

 

Have you also posed?

The idea of the project is that it’s anonymous, so maybe, maybe not. Take a look on the website, you’ll see if you recognize me or not. 

 

And your relatives?

Some of them decided to come from the beginning, others took much longer.  It is very interesting in this case, because it is always more complicated when you know the person, but I was always flattered that they dare to come and give themselves up to me, to overcome their modesty, their complexes. It’s something that varies a lot depending on the individual: there are people who have taken a long time to dare to do it, others who have always been willing to do it. There are really no rules about it. 

 

Where have your photographs been exhibited?

We were lucky to have different exhibitions, in Paris of course, where the project was born, but also in the United States, in New York, in Miami. We were exhibited in Osaka, in many places, in galleries, in public spaces. It was always great moments because for me the purpose of an art project is to make exhibitions, that’s what I find beautiful. 

I think I have a rather moving memory of an exhibition in Arles, for the Carrières de Lumière, where I had the chance to see my photographs projected in large scale onto the old stone quarries six meters high. Yet these were photographs I knew, but I was lucky to rediscover them, to see them differently. Just thinking about them again, I am still breathless. 

 

Among all these photos, do you have any preferences? 

It’s hard to say, because I’ve photographed more than 2000 people. There are many that I particularly like. I like them both for the aesthetics, for the graphics, but also sometimes for stories of models, but I’m the only one who knows, I don’t reveal them. 

I like to refer not to the ones I like, but to the ones that were really loved by my peers. I have quite a few photographs that have been lucky enough to be selected in contests, that have won awards, that have been recognized. The fact that it’s not me who loves them, but the professional jury, touches me particularly and I love them all the more. 

 

 Are you still working on this project?

We continue to photograph in the studio today, even though I’m working on other artistic projects. There are regularly open slots for the sessions, and the project continues, not only on the production of the works, but also on the exhibitions, which we will continue to exhibit in different places, as soon as possible. 

 

What advice do you give to people who discover the project? 

If you are discovering the project today, I would advise you to take the time. In our society where everything goes fast, where we try to look at everything quickly, it’s difficult to look at ten years of work in a few minutes. I would say to go and take the time to look at each photograph carefully, to take five, ten, fifteen seconds per photo. Take the time to look at the details of a curve, a smile, a look, to let yourself go. Go to the next one, take the time, go back to the previous one.

Often I think, but it’s true overall, not just for my photos, we don’t take enough time to look at a work of art, to immerse ourselves in it, in the atmosphere, in the universe and let ourselves be touched. 

 

 

 

Hinders: what imprisons us

 

INTERVIEW VIDEO

Hinders: what imprisons us

Idan Wizen talks about Hinders collection

We tend to think that society shackles us, that it imposes barriers, hinders us and prevents us from being free. With the Hinders collection, Idan Wizen speaks to us about our responsibility towards our shackles. His photographs show us how we can be blinded by our daily problems and how we manage to ignore the chains that lock us in.

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Would you prefer to read than watch a video?

Hello, I am Idan Wizen, a fine art photographer in Paris. I have created a collection called Hinders which I will talk about in this video.

 

What is Hinders? Can you explain the choice of this title?

Hinders is a collection that speaks above all of freedom. Hinders means in English “the fetters“. We chose this title because we wanted to talk about the chains, often invisible, that prevent us from being free, from emancipating and fulfilling ourselves. These are often chains that we will impose on ourselves, without necessarily realizing it. I wanted through twenty frescoes to highlight them, to underline them and to show how each one could try to free himself from them with, already as the first step, the awareness of these chains. 

 

In a world where we always blame society, you decide to put the blame on ourselves. Why?

We are in a society where it is very easy to be a victim. We’ll say that it’s because of society, because of the context, because of a lot of things we can’t do, that we’re not free, that we’re limited. I don’t really believe in that, I think that we are in a relatively free society, we have rarely been so free: we are free to travel, we are free to do what we want, we are free to be whoever we want to be, with a few limits. And fortunately, this is normal. Most of the obstacles, in general, come from ourselves: from the fear of the others’ look, of what people will say, of what we think we are not able to do. Often, we are our own jailer. We are the ones who limit ourselves, we often find pretexts, say that it is because of others, but when we look deeply, we know that we can do it, that we have the possibility to do it. 

What I wanted with this collection is to speak to the viewer and tell him that he is capable of going beyond his fears, his limits, his chains and that he is capable of breaking them. 

 

What is the main subject of these photographs? Freedom? 

All these photographs speak about freedom, individual freedom, but there is not only one freedom, there are several. Freedom in the broadest sense is a very beautiful concept, but when we put it into practice in our society, we have a lot of freedoms, which are often opposed to each other. 

I wanted to underline the different freedoms: freedom in relation to work, freedom in terms of one’s image and self-esteem, freedom regarding the consumer society, freedom concerning the IT field, science, freedom regarding religion. We will talk about all these different freedoms, about how we will react. 

Often, nobody will put chains on all these freedoms, we will put them on certain fields, and each one according to its past, its lived, its education, will have hindrances, chains which are different and which are clean to him. 

 

Where were the photographs taken? 

There are several photographs, there are several scenes and some were made in my studio in Paris. For the others, we tried to work outside to mix natural and artificial light and to create a different universe – the one you will see on the great majority of the photos of the collection, where we are in the middle of the fields. For this, we found a place near Fontainebleau, in the suburbs of Paris, which we liked because of the great luminosity, the structure and the nature of the landscape and the fields, which were perfectly suited to the dreamlike world we wanted to create.

 

Why this setting? 

Why work in the fields outside? It allowed me to give an impression of infinity, of grandeur. In the studio, we are much more limited in space. I wanted to talk about the pressure of the world that could weigh on each person, in its infinity, in its grandeur, to what extent each individual is very small. 

Why in fields? Because we wanted it to be very timeless, very universal. Basically, there are fields everywhere in the world, even if crops often change, everywhere on earth there are fields. And there have been fields at any time, in any case for a very long time, and there will certainly be fields in the future. So that was the advantage of having this setting, to speak of universality, timelessness and to be able to speak in a generic way about humanity, and not necessarily about our current society.

 

What do the models represent?

The models for me represent everyone and nobody at the same time. They are in my universe, in my imagination, close to the hero or, in any case, to the imperfect hero, the one who is at the beginning of his quest, who is searching for himself, who is developing, who is going to face different dangers. 

They are, for me, in the image of the novel or of classical literature, this hero as one could describe him in illustration. They represent everybody and nobody. They are neutral, and at the same time, we can identify with them very easily. 

 

Some elements were made in post-production. Why this choice? 

We often associate photography with just a reportage image, something that is taken on the spot and that must transcribe reality. For me, not at all. It’s a way of drawing, a bit like movies today where we create an imaginary world thanks to 3D, thanks to special effects, thanks to incorporation. This is what I wanted to do for this collection. I wanted to talk about what I had in mind, about my imagination, about scenes that were not necessarily directly realizable at the shooting, at least not with the means we had. It was difficult to find quadruplets to create certain photographs, it was difficult to find a giant bolt of 12 m high and even less to transport it. A lot of things were not feasible to shoot, so we decided to make it post-production, to edit when it was necessary when we had no choice. For me, the idea is to bring a sense, an image and to create perhaps a small dose of surrealism and dreamlike.

 

Can you tell us more about the prints in this collection? 

All the prints were made on Hahnemühle Bamboo paper, I won’t go into more detail on that, it’s a very textured paper, very beautiful and deserves to be seen in an exhibition. We have formats that go from 40 x 60 cm to the largest print that is 1m x 1m50, which is a unique piece. In all, there are 15 copies of each photograph in four different sizes. 

 

The drowning of consumption, shoes sauce

This is a photograph that was taken in a studio where we took the model and put her in the middle of a pile of shoes that I had collected around me. A rather direct shot, but it was quite long to arrange the shoes and to put them in place. 

It’s a photograph that obviously talks about overconsumption, mainly compulsive consumption in which we can drown. It is for me something dangerous, in which we can lock ourselves, by our society which will push us to appear. But it’s up to everyone to be stronger than that, to get out of it and to consume, of course, but with intelligence and moderation.

 

Run worker, run

As far as the title is concerned, it was a little bit of a reference to the movie Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks that I think everybody knows (at least I hope so, otherwise I invite you to see it as soon as possible!).

Parenthesis aside, this is a photograph that we took in the fields. Of course, the bolt was not there, it was added in post-production. But apart from that, everything is real: the sky, the movement of the hair, all the intensity, it’s as if we were there.

It clearly makes a reference to the enclosure that one can have in his work, creating the link between the worker and sometimes the hamster that runs in his cage.

How can we get out of this when we are unhappy in our work when we do not fulfill ourselves in it, that we can get out of it, in spite of the necessity to work and the absence, sometimes, of a solution.

It is a whole reflection on this freedom: one is always free to resign, to leave one’s job. Are we really? In reality, it’s always more complex than the beautiful words that tell us that we are free to do what we want.

 

Just break it!

Just break it! is a photograph that was made, obviously, in post-production, where we see the female character of Hinders four times, where she is fighting with her own image. This image is represented by these big mirrors that are above her as if it were herself in a different dimension.

Why? Because we can see that when you ask people, their own image is much more different than the one that others perceive. It is always difficult to perceive ourselves, to look at ourselves as we are, as much on the physical aspect as on the level of our life in general, and on what we are, on what we have done, on what we have achieved. This difference of perception is fundamental, because as a rule it will guide us towards choices and often towards wrong choices

The idea of this photo is to tell each individual to be able to detach himself from this image, from this look that we have on ourselves which is distorting, which is biased and to be able to free ourselves from it, by breaking the mirrors that lock us in. 

 

What is your feeling now that you see this project realized? 

These are photographs that I am very proud of, that I appreciate very much and that I hope will find an audience that will appreciate them as much as I do.

It wasn’t always very simple, we had a lot of unforeseen problems, whether it was shooting in the studio or on location, even when we realized in post-production that we had certain ideas, we thought that everything would work perfectly, and then we realized that it was much more complicated, that it took more hours than expected. We put six months of delay compared to the initial planning on the post-production. 

It’s a project that I’m proud of, that I’m happy with, and that I will be proud to present in future exhibitions. 

 

Will there be a follow-up to this collection?

No, there will be no follow-up. When I create a project I like it to have a beginning, a middle and an end. For me, the story about individual freedom has been told as it is and it suits me well. On the other hand, I have other work in progress on other projects, other photos that are closer to the fresco, perhaps even more elaborate, more complex, which are still in the writing phase, which will soon be in production. 

I can already give you a little title: it will be called We Tomorrow. 

 

 

 

Singularity: the collection where the anonymous are not alone

INTERVIEW VIDEO

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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Would you prefer to read than watch a video?

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.

Meet Idan Wizen

INTERVIEW VIDEO

Meet 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 Who’s That Nude In The Living Room, 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 Who’s That Nude In The Living Room, 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. 

 

 

 

How it all began ?

INTERVIEW VIDEO

How it all began ?

Discover Genesis, the first collection of the project Who's That Nude In The Living Room

It was with the Genesis collection that the artist Idan Wizen began his project Who’s that nude in the living room ? in 2009. His idea? Transmit through this project a reflection on the place of nudity and the human body in today’s society. This collection, in black and white tinged with red on a black background, shows us bodies of different ages, different horizons with the aim of showing the beauty and diversity of the human body.

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Hello, I am Idan Wizen, artist photographer in Paris. I have been doing this job since 2009 when I started with a project called Who’s that nude in the living room ? Today, I’m going to tell you about the genesis of this project and my first photographs.

Can you describe your project ?

Who’s that nude in the living room ? is an artistic project that has started in 2009, the idea is​​ photographing humanity as it is, in its most natural state. Each person comes to pose individually, without casting, without post-production, without artifice, and today, I photographed more than 2500 people. Photographs that you can find online, in various exhibitions and on my website.

 

How it all began ?

I finished my studies, I came back to Paris, I lived just before in London where I finished my studies. And I still had some time. I wanted to talk about several things: I wanted to talk about the place of aesthetics in society. I found that at the time, it is less true today, that we were really stuck on a one body stereotype. Models edited, reworked for a magazine. I found that beauty could be in other body types: in men, in women, in older people, on curves, on lots of different things. I also wanted to talk about the place of modesty. I had the feeling that we were going towards two extremes. On one hand, ubiquitous, often unsolicited pornography on the Internet, on newsstands. And at the same time a resurgence of puritanism, of demonization of the body, as if it were wrong to show it, that there was something disturbing. And then one last point, a reflection, that I asked myself about attraction, about what we like in a being, when we take them out of any socio-cultural context, when we no longer have their name, when we no longer have your age, that you no longer have your profession. What do we like in a human being and what makes us want to buy a small, large, very large work of art at home, look at it, admire it, and tell a story.
This story, I wanted to tell it with the Who’s That Nude In The Living Room project, where I tried to photograph people, without casting, they were not chosen, regardless of their physical appearance, and to try to transform each human being into an art photograph, a photograph that others could look at, admire and appreciate. Then it started by chance, I remember sitting in a cafe with a friend, talking and setting things up. Quickly, we decided to organize a first day where I will do a maximum of shooting to start having content. So no one knew me. I had never worked professionally in the field of photography. I had just finished my studies and it was a real challenge.

 

How was your first session ?

The first photos, it was something quite funny. I didn’t have the means, I didn’t have a photo studio, and I didn’t even have an apartment big enough to be able to do the photosession. So the first thing was to find a place. Most of my friends were students or had student jobs, in Paris, necessarily with limited spaces. So we went to the apartment of a friend’s parents who had a bigger living room, but above all, they were not aware that we were going to do a photo shoot. We didn’t want to tell them anything. I still remember waiting in front of the building with all the equipment, the background which is 2m72 long. Waiting for them to leave the building and go away for the weekend, so that I can come home and settle down, precisely in their living room. This was the first session. The people who came were mainly friends, friends of friends, people who trusted me, people who hadn’t necessarily seen my photographs, who didn’t know what it was going to be like, who had no ideas, but who trusted meAnd for that, even today, I thank them and I really thank them for the trust they have placed in me, it allowed me to get started and start this project.

 

What were your first difficulties?

The first difficulty was, I believe, having confidence in my photographs, telling myself that they could be good, that they could please. This is something we always doubt. I had no experience, I had no recognition, so it’s not easy to dare to show them, to post them and say look, this is something I’m selling and worth it. I always found it very difficult to know if it was good enough, qualitative enough. Then the second difficulty is to make yourself known. Telling yourself that we are going to publish them is one thing. But to make people see them, people care about them, understand them. That they are justly pleasing. It is also another difficulty that requires time, work and self-denial.

 

What was the reaction of those around you and the public?

I think those around me were a bit skeptical at first. They weren’t sure what I was going to do and why. But overall, they always supported me, they always believed in me, and that’s what allowed me to keep going, because without a supportive environment, it’s always difficult to enter an artistic environment and to be able to do your work, develop it, and believe in it. The audience, of course, we always have a biased view of the audience, because I don’t have people who aren’t interested. I don’t have people passing by without seeing anything. These people don’t come to talk to me, but the reaction of the public was relatively good, I was offered a first exhibition extremely quickly, then a second, and everything happened very quickly and it became my job, my main activity In just a few months.

 

What was your motivation to keep going on this project ?

At the beginning I liked to say, to continue the project, that I wanted to photograph 6 billion people. The challenge was perhaps a little high, so I revised it a little downwards. Today, I always say that I want to continue as long as I have the impression of bringing something with new photographs. As long as I have the impression of being creative, of making photographs that speak to others, that are new. Which are different. I want to continue, I want to bring. I want to be able to offer people who follow me, whether on the site or on social networks, for collectors, to offer them new photos that will please them. And then, it’s also a real pleasure each time to exchange, to meet new people. People who have their fears, their concerns, their questions, helping them, accompanying them in this process, it has also become something strong and intense and really fundamental in creative work.

 

 Why did you create a second collection with a different graphic universe?

The Genesis collection includes 100 photographs that were taken on a black background, in tinted black and white. And after 100 photographs, I wanted to change. I didn’t want to change ​​the project. I didn’t want to change the very idea, this idea precisely to talk about aesthetics, modesty, attraction. This idea spoke of the body without photo editing. But I wanted to show it differently. I wanted, graphically, to evolve, to work on my lights, on my decor, on my lighting, while keeping what was essential for me: the model. So I worked on a second collection, the Perseverance collection. Where I also photograph 100 people on this very bright red background who was going to strike and be a strong impact for the spectator.

 

Can you tell us about three works that particularly hint you in this collection? 

Three photographs that I’m going to tell you about, it’s not easy since on the Genesis collection, there are many, many who marked me, many who touched me, many who have a particular story. Obviously, it was my beginning but let’s say that the first one I’m going to talk to you about is the photograph, H023, which we chose to put right here. This is one of the first photographs with a really old man, in any case much older than me, especially at the time which I found touching. There was this look, a look almost from a son to his father. We discussed a lot and exchanged a lot before. He was someone I really appréciate. I had the opportunity, in addition to seeing him several times after the session, and he really had an authentic look, like a wise man who came to give me advice and at the same time give himself up and pass me a sort of torch. This is a photograph that I really like. And then it’s not just me, we had the chance that she won an award a few years later. As a Photoshoot Award, it was my first award, my first photo that had an international award. So I was really touched by this photo. She marked me. And I remember as soon as I posted it, quickly many friends, to the many people who followed me at the time immediately told me that this one stood out.

Another photograph I want to tell you about is F023. This photograph spoke to me a lot because I think it had an impact on what I did later. It is a photograph where the gaze, the face was in the foreground, and the body in the background. And in fact, it’s a bit paradoxical to take this angle of view when I said that I was doing nude photography. Generally, we will take the body and then the face will be placed above the shoulders. This is often the first logic. Here I took precisely another axis, I photographed a person. I photographed, which I started to do at that time, that is to say: a portrait of a naked person, and I always tried to keep that in mind. For more than ten years now, it has been a photograph that still touches me today and a lot by its smile, its look, its attitude.

A moment that particularly touched me too, It was a photograph with F024. She was a young woman whom I did not know at all. She introduced herself to me, we discussed, we exchanged. But if you look closely at the photograph, she has a large scar running through her rib cage. And this scar, I actually discovered it at the time of the arrival on the background, where she was naked. And we hadn’t talked about it at all before it surprised me a bit, I didn’t expect it and when talking with her afterwards, she told me that this scar was so much a part of her, that she forgot to mention it. And I found it beautiful, I found it strong, I found it touching, and I thought it deserved to be seen, to be highlighted to have just forgotten it in this way.

 

Unlike the other collections, 40×60 cm is the largest format available on Genèse. Why ?

The Genesis collection is a collection that I wanted to make in eight copies, in two formats, a 20×30 cm format and a size 40x60cm. It’s true that today, I allow myself to make prints that are much bigger, much more imposing. But at the time, I couldn’t. For two very simple reasons, the technique, the cameras did not allow to do the same thing as today. It was in 2009. There were cameras that were able to do large formats. But in any case, I didn’t have the financial means at the time to buy a device like that. So I work with a small reflex camera that allowed me to shoot up to 40x60cm. And above, I thought it was starting to pixelate. So I stopped there, these are photos that cannot exist in a larger format, unless to lose a little in quality.

 

Is the material important for an art photography project? 

The importance of equipment in photography? Yes and no. This is a question that is rarely asked of a painter or a sculptor, or in any case much less.  It revolves around a lot, often about photography, like if it was the camera, the lighting, the type of flash, the brand of lens that would do it all. I think it’s often an extension. Above all, the material, the technique allows precisely to bring only on the style, and not on the content. The content is fundamental upstream. And I think it’s especially in art photography, which is going to be the crux of photography. So it’s important to have the equipment that will allow you to achieve what you have in mind, what you want. But I think you can find lots of creative solutions to do different things. If we don’t have the means to have such a light, such a camera or such a lens and at the end, you have to know how to do without, to adapt yourself and know how to achieve differently.  If the idea is there, if the intention is good, the rest is really less important.

 

Is it still possible to acquire works from the Genesis collection?

Yes, it is still possible to acquire works from the Genesis collection. We have a few left on our website. You can order them online, or simply come and see me at my studio. You can also hope to find some on the secondary market, in the auction room. You just have to follow a little carefully. And, I believe that acquiring a print from the Genesis collection is something strong. It is to acquire the etiology of the project. The first idea, the rawest idea, it’s often moreover, photos that are harder in terms of light, in terms of work, contrast. It’s really acquiring the raw idea that came to me ten years ago and that some have followed since today,for quite a few years, which they appreciate. It is really acquiring the etiology of this project.

 

Eroticized or demonized? What if we made nudity sacred?

 

INTERVIEW VIDEO

Eroticized or demonized? What if we made nudity sacred?

Idan talks about his vision of nudity: rare, ephemeral and sacred.

Nudity has never stopped being at the center of debates in our society. Taboo or source of liberation, for centuries the subject is still topical. Working on this subject since 2009 through his project Who’s that nude in the living room ? Idan Wizen tells us about his feelings and thoughts on this subject.

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Face to face with the artist Idan Wizen 

Hello, I am today with Idan Wizen, artist photographer in Paris for more than ten years now. He created a project called Who’s that nude in the living room ?, which is the idea of ​​representing humanity in its beauty, in its diversity. We are going to ask him a few questions to get to know a little better his relationship to nudity and today’s society.

 

We would first have liked to know, what is the relationship you have between nudity and today’s society?

I think it’s a very complex relationship, which goes to two extremes. We are in a society where, on the one hand, we can find ubiquitous pornography on the Internet on newsstands. They are often, moreover, unsolicited and it is more present than it has ever been. And at the same time, we are able to make a big difference, because I think the body is more and more taboo. We have a religious revival, we have today more and more a part of society that prohibits nudity. If you look on social media, for example, you can’t show a woman’s bare breasts, you’re going to be censored. So I think we really make a big difference with a demonization of the body and at the same time ubiquitous pornography.

 

 And that’s why you decided to represent nudity through your project?

Yes, I wanted to show the right balance. Nudity, not eroticized, not sexualized, but nudity as we are, the natural state of human beings at birth, his most primary state. It allowed us to look beyond all sociocultural contexts. Because clothes position us, whether we like it or not, we will choose them, we will put them on and that will give us information about ourselves. By photographing individuals who come out of this context, I leave more room for the imagination. It also allows us, at the same time of course, to work on aestheticism of human body, the beauty of a curve and precisely the imperfection of bodies, of those who come. Because all my photographs are taken without post-production, with people who haven’t been cast.

 

You’ve been working on this project for more than ten years. In this work about nudity, have you noticed an evolution?

Yes, I started exactly in 2009, I photographed more than 2500 people. Indeed, I think of a change of mentality. Mainly on the younger generations, the body has become much more taboo. I think we scared them a lot by telling them that the nude was bad, the nude was dirty, the nude was dangerous, that photos can circulate on the Internet, and that’s scary. And in fact, it’s a matter of context. It all depends on the photograph, whether it’s a pornographic photograph or not. If it is precisely an artistic photograph, which I do. But I think the evolution of mentalities is changing, and young people today are increasingly afraid of being judged, to be watched than before.

 

How do they experience their nudity? And why are they taking the step of participating in this project?

Why are they doing this? In general, it is a desire for acceptance of the body, for reappropriation, precisely, to get out of the existing clichés in society that we can have in advertising, in fashion. Those who come in general are not necessarily the most comfortable. It’s often people who are not totally comfortable in their body and are still relatively modest. There really is an approach, we will go beyond our own limits, beyond his own fears. In reality, after a few minutes, when we are going to start the photo shoot. People forget, forget nudity quickly and we come back, in fact to this natural state. We forget that we have no clothes, we are as comfortable as if we were dressed.  It’s kind of magical, and I think people, I’ve said it before, don’t believe me and when they experience it, they’re really surprised at their own reaction, and the fact that they’ve forgotten all about it.

 

And if I understood correctly, at the end of this project, when people come to pose, only one photograph is kept during this session.
Why did you choose to limit it to this single photograph?

The idea for me was a bit to sanctify the exposure of each individual. We are talking about everyday people who have jobs like you and me, who are not models who are not professional and therefore who will reveal this nudity for a short time. Time for a photo shoot. I would even say, time from a single photograph. It is really a hundredth of a second that we will keep. Where they unveiled this nudity to the whole world, and in a single moment. It is basically extremely rare. Of this person who comes to pose, you will only have one photograph of this photo shoot. Only one image is kept of this nudity.

 

What were the reactions of the various spectators about the project? How did they react?

I have everything. I must have a bias because the people who come to see the exhibition, who come to talk to me, are people sensitive to my approach, to my point of view about the body. But overall it’s very positive. What I often remember is that it feels good to see real, authentic bodies without post-production. People with flaws, who are highlighted by his imperfections. So I think we quickly forget the nudity. Someone once told me that I mostly do portraits of naked people. I found it very well chosen. I think I do more nude portraits than nude photography.

 

Hanging artwork in your home is never neutral.
What does it say about us, to hang an artwork of “Who’s that nude in the living room ?”

I believe that precisely, that hanging art is to make its declarations to the world, to one’s loved ones and to one’s entourage. Or even, to remember daily what we believe in, what is dear to us, what is important to us. Hung a nude, at least in my work. I believe that is to say that you love humanity in its uniqueness and in its diversity, that you like the imperfection of the body, that you like, the authenticity, the veracity of these beings who have come to give themselves up is to pay homage to them. It is to look at them with an admiring and benevolent eye at the same time. I think that’s what it means to hang a nude in your home.

 

 

Purity : The transcription of single-line drawing into photography

INTERVIEW VIDEO

Purity : The transcription of single-line drawing into photography

Idan Wizen tells us about the Purity collection, from the project Who's That Nude In The Living Room

Purity, a collection that is part of the project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room, is a series of images, representing different people, in their simplest form, on a very simple background. A white background, synonymous with purity and innocence.
On the idea behind the collection, on the artistic and technical aspects, Idan tells us more about it.

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Purity is a collection of the project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room, a collection that includes 400 photographs of 400 different people, who came to pose in the simplest way, without artifice, without retouching, and especially without casting. Without casting it means that the 400 people I didn’t choose them, they came with their background, their age, their different morphologies: they are, in general, not professional models, far from it. They are, for the most part, people who pose for the first time.

 

First of all, can you tell us about the title of this collection? 

The title “Purity” came from a simple idea. I wanted to show that the nude was not necessarily demonized, dirty, as we see a lot in our society. I wanted to show, in fact, a very angelic nude, a nude very close to the authenticity of the human race, its natural state.

I wanted to show a vision of the nude, which was the opposite of the pornographic vision of things, of the even erotic vision. I wanted to show a nude that was as healthy as possible, in every sense of the word.

 

Why did you take everyday people and not models? 

The idea of taking everyday people is a true idea in all the collections of the project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room, it is for several reasons: above all, I wanted to show and underline the authenticity of humankind, to show its beauty, its university, its diversity at the same time. By taking the models, by making castings on certain people, I would’ve lost some of this authenticity. Of course, I would’ve had people, maybe more comfortable, easier to work with, but that was not my point, that’s not what I meant. 

And then, another thing that interested me was to show that one could be beautiful other than in the criteria, the stereotypes of advertising, of fashion. To show that one could be beautiful differently, otherwise. To show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and not in numbers, perfect measurements. 

 

Why a plain white background with a model that merges with it? 

The idea of the white background was for me to emphasize the most angelic side possible. I wanted to have something very simple, very uncluttered, almost something that would make you think of the divine or beyond. To have this simplicity, it allowed me to underline the model, to have this very purified side, also allowed me to underline the specific, the virtuous side of each individual.

It also allowed me to play with breaking the shadows enormously, by making the reference points of gravity disappear. I had a lot of fun shooting from above and below, and losing the viewer’s sense of direction and gravity in the photo, a photo that could be viewed from different angles, in different directions. We don’t really know where the ground was when the picture was taken.   

And then, the idea of losing one’s bearings, of breaking a little bit the traditional codes of the nude photo, often very polished, very worked. Here I wanted something that speaks of the being in its absolute. So, to break it to the maximum of all socio-cultural references, almost physical, that we can have on earth.

 

Why this effect close to the drawing? 

This idea, close to the drawing, to have a body so exposed, that we were left with only the main lines, was for me a way to express this simplicity, this very refined side and then a very authentic side. I think that in the classical arts, mainly in painting, we will always start with a sketch, with a stroke of the pencil. We’ll usually do that before we put the paint on, and apply the colors. It is a previous step. I wanted to go back to the etiology of creating a classic work and leave more than that, as if these photos could turn into a sketch.

 

Can you tell us about a few works in particular? 

The first piece I’d like to talk about is HB1232, which is the first piece in the Purity collection. I particularly like it, because it’s what I had in mind when I imagined the collection. What you have to understand is that when I receive the models, I have no idea what they look like, I don’t know how old they are. I can possibly guess their gender by their first name, but it stops there. I have absolutely no information about them. 

And then, in this collection I wanted to speak of course of purity, but also of wisdom, of serenity. I think that the model and the photo we took that day match perfectly. It is a photo for me symbolically that I like very much. I thought it was a nice coincidence that he was the first model in the collection.

The second photo I want to talk about is HB1492. It’s a photograph that reminds me of Bottero’s universe, which is nowadays the opposite of stereotypical, perfect bodies. And yet, I find it beautiful. I find her extremely graphic. I like her curves, I like her look that challenges the viewer to look at her, to find her beautiful, to be inspired by her, to let herself go. By the way, you have it right here. It’s a photo that speaks to me a lot. 

The third piece I want to talk about is HB1464. It is a work that I particularly like for its graphics, but also for all these stories in which we can immerse ourselves, by going to look at all his tattoos. It’s a photo that is very aesthetic, I really like the posture of this young woman, her very defiant look, warning the viewer to judge her for all her tattoos, but it’s a work that I think I have a little less credit for than the others because part of the credit goes to the different tattoo artists who worked on her body, who transformed her body into a work of art on its own. 

 

How do you like this collection to be displayed? 

What I like about the Purity collection when it’s exhibited in galleries, festivals, or private homes, is that it can be displayed in two different ways: either as a mosaic of small works that will show the diversity of humanity. Showing that each being is complementary to the other, and that we can build gigantic mosaics with the association of these images, which render really well, which make almost a tile wall.

But on the other hand, you can also make bigger works. I also make prints that are up to 80 x 120 cm. And there you can emphasize the uniqueness of each person, their beauty, their look, their expressions. I find that these photos work just as well when combined together as when displayed alone. 

 

 

 

Sanitized : Not trying to please, trying not to displease

INTERVIEW VIDEO

Sanitized : Not trying to please, trying not to displease

Idan Wizen tells us about the Sanitized 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. One of them caught our attention, created after the first French confinement, Sanitized plunges us into an out-of-the-ordinary setting and yet speaks to us all. Idan tells us a little more about this aseptic universe.

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Sanitized is a collection of the project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room, a collection that respects the same principles as the others of the project. Namely, models who have never posed before (neither in photos, nor naked), they are not casted (everyone can come from the age of 18), and who come for a photo session, where we will keep only one photograph of each individual. There is no retouching, these are authentic photographs of each individual, they are meant to be made into works of art up to very large formats which are 80 x 120 cm, and to be exhibited, in exhibitions, as well as in private homes. 

 

For this collection, you have set up a particular universe. Can you explain your creative process?

The idea of Sanitized was born after the lifting of the first lockdown in France, around mid-May. I felt obliged to talk about this crisis that affected humanity, as my project itself speaks a lot about humanity. It seemed essential to me as an artist to integrate it and to show the evolution of bodies, attitudes, beings in a new world, a world that now knows the Covid, and that knows a form of change of major evolution. 

 

Why is the entire set covered in plastic? 

The first reading, to put objects in plastic, was for us a very practical, very fast way to speak about Covid, to evoke it. The hydroalcoholic gel was not really visible in the photo, the mask for me was really disturbing on the project, it’s not something I wanted to do, and the plastic spoke well of this need for aseptization, linked to the health crisis. 

But it was also a deeper meaning, a secondary meaning that I wanted to express, which was related to the aseptization of our society. Not on the sanitary level, but on the cultural level, where more and more we are moving towards a society where everything must be smooth, not to exceed, to be politically correct, not to disturb. A society that we try to make that must displease no one, where everything must be as sanitized, as empty of life as plastic sheeting. 

In the photos of Sanitized there is only one element that is not under plastic, it is the model, because it is he or she who still represents the future, the destiny of humanity. It is the model that can be different, full of asperity, it is the model that can be in something less standardized, that is what creates, in my opinion, the beauty of humanity. 

 

We perceive two dominant colors: blue and orange, what are their meanings?

I think we’re going into a society where we’re trying to make it a society that nobody dislikes. My deepest feeling is that a society that doesn’t displease anyone, I’m not sure that it pleases many people. I wanted to use these two lights to create a duality. I believe that today we are at a social crossroads. We can head towards a society that is becoming more and more aseptic, and that is going towards an absence of life, of difference, of originality; or on the contrary, we can take things in hand and recreate difference, warmth, energy and the specificities of the human being. 

 

Are the emotions in this collection directly related to the sanitary crisis?

In the principle of the project Who’s That Nude In The Living Room, I wanted to create my universe, decor and my artistic expression through the lights, in each collection. But I want to keep the authenticity of each one. That’s why in the different photos of the collection, you will see people who are more down, people who are shouting, people who are happy, people who are smiling. Because everyone comes with his history, his liabilities, with his emotions, and this is what I try to transmit with each photo, no matter the universe, because even in the darkest universe we can be happy, in the most joyful we can be sad. 

 

When you created this universe, did you anticipate the public’s reaction?

It’s a very personal collection. I really wanted to do it, I knew I was expressing my universe and I was afraid that it would not please people. I was afraid that the reactions would be a little shocked, and that the shade of the colors, the plastic aspect a little moribund would displease. We are not in a collection that speaks of glamour, aesthetics, sensuality, but it was still important for me to make it. 

 

And how did they react?

I was very surprised, but the collection was very much appreciated, as much by the models who told me that they came to pose because this collection spoke to them in particular, as by many collectors who admired and acquired many works, because this collection will have a double uniqueness: the uniqueness of my work and my vision of things of course, but the uniqueness in relation to time. It is part of an era that has profoundly and permanently changed humanity.

 

What do you advise to people who discover the collection? 

I think that, as a general rule, we don’t spend enough time looking at the photos. We go through them very quickly, we are in an era where we are used to swipe very quickly. I would advise you to go to an exhibition, if there is one near you, or to look on the website, and take the time to look at each photo. Spend five, ten, fifteen seconds on each photo. Look at a glance, a smile, a curve, the details. Move on to the next one. Take the same time. Go back to the previous one. Go back five, ten, fifteen seconds. I believe that you never tire of a work of art, you learn to discover it, and to be moved by it.