FABULA at Armani-Silos, Milan, Italy
12 January 2018 - 24 March 2019
Via Bergognone, 40 20144 Milano
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.