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FABULA at Armani-Silos, Milan, Italy

FABULA at Armani-Silos, Milan, Italy

12 January 2018 - 24 March 2019

Armani Silos

Via Bergognone, 40 - 20144 Milano Italy

In around twenty years Charles Fréger, French photographer, born in 1975, has created intense and idiosyncratic work, almost encyclopaedic in its scope.

The extensive body of photographs built up by the artist to date testifies to his inexorable quest to reach out to communities that are either sporting, military, festive or educational, to consider the individuals who are a part of them and to identify the links, rituals and practices that unite them. Charles Fréger is interested in the body and clothing of each of these groups as an ambivalent terrain, where the pose reveals a dreamed-of identity, where the clothing, albeit a uniform, sees its formality put to the test by flip adolescence. There, then, is the image he wants.

For a long time gathered under the generic title of Portraits photographiques et uniformes, the work initially proved to be the heir to a certain Nordic tradition. With the addition of performances and videos it has evolved to reach finally a fundamentally theatrical dimension, and is appreciably baroque in places.

Distancing himself from the portraits he had previously produced, Charles Fréger has been focusing for several years on the silhouette and its potential for expression. Faces and bodies gradually disappear, some hidden behind masks and make-up, others under costumes that gain in complexity and volume.

The Fabula exhibition retraces the key stages of this theatrical and symbolic shift in the form of a retrospective that puts together extracts from some twenty series produced between 1999 and 2018, in Europe, America, Asia and Africa.


Cimarron cover UK_thames and hudson_charles_freger

CIMARRON in Nantes, France

08 February 2019

The first exhibition of CIMARRON is now opened at the Château des ducs de Bretagne, Nantes, France.
The book will be available early march with Thames&Hudson (UK, USA), ACTES SUDS (FR), Seigensha (Jp), Kehrer (Ger), RM (Sp)

All across the Americas, from the 16th century onwards, enslaved Africans escaped their captors and struck out on their own. These runaways, having found their freedom, established their own communities or joined with indigenous peoples to forge new identities.

Cimarron, borrowing a Spanish-American term for these fugitive former slaves, is a new series of photographic portraits of their descendants. From Brazil, Colombia, the Caribbean islands and Central America, as far as the southern United States, elaborate masquerades are staged that celebrate and keep alive the history and memory of African slaves and their creole or mixed-race descendants. Stock characters are portrayed in costume, or in grotesque or satirical representations. A huge variety of African tribal dress, wild ritual regalia and shimmering Mardi Gras outfits feature in breathtaking succession. Vividly coloured silks and cottons combine with woven fibres, leaves, feathers, and bodypaint; props include emblems of slavery and slavemasters – ropes, sticks, guns and machetes. These photographs record real people whose collective sense of memory, folk history and imagination dramatically challenges our expectations.

Charles Fréger’s work has established a large and growing following among connoisseurs of contemporary photography, defining a new genre of documentary portraiture that extends and deepens our sense of the human past and the present.


Dans le cercle, TROCADERO, Théâtre de Chaillot, Paris

20 December 2018

Depuis près de vingt ans, Charles Fréger explore par un travail photographique sériel la relation de l’individu à la communauté. C’est dans cette même perspective qu’il a abordé le projet pour la commémoration du 70e anniversaire de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme. Si la forme proposée n’est pas à proprement parler photographique, elle procède de l’impression d’un jeu d’ombres et de lumières sur un support : l’esplanade du Trocadéro, lieu emblématique de Paris, photographiée des milliers de fois par jour, est ici mis au noir. Tous les jours, de la tombée de la nuit à l’aube, sur la place rendue à la pénombre de la nuit, est projeté au sol un cercle lumineux dont la couleur, le diamètre et l’emplacement varient. D’abord de la largeur d’un homme, il balaie lentement la place tout en s’élargissant et s’empourprant graduellement selon un spectre ocre jaune, orangé presque rouge.
Une composition sonore, réalisée avec la collaboration du compositeur Teho Teardo, accompagne le ballet de ce disque de lumière au sol et invite les visiteurs à rejoindre l’espace à l’intérieur du cercle. La lumière devient objet d’interaction avec le public, l’engageant à se prendre au jeu de cette forme vivante et à en accompagner les pulsations, chacun à son rythme, ensemble dans le cercle. L’installation est réalisée grâce au partenariat avec Athem.

Mapping installation with Athem, Paris.
Sound by Teho Teardo.
A production of Théâtre National Chaillot

30 November – 10 december
Parvis des droits de l’homme, Trocadéro, Paris

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