Suzanne Lafont: How Things Think
The exhibition brings together images from various bodies of work the artist has been working on since the early 1990s. Selected among these artworks, the images are arranged and reactivated in a specific way to create a new situation: the exhibition. The chosen framework is the theatrical model. “A situation is dependent on the interplay of elements.” As this statement illustrates, Suzanne Lafont’s photographic practice has developed through associations. The artwork (or the exhibition, or the book) is an arrangement of fragmented elements, that can be temporary: photographic images in variable media and formats, often accompanied by a word or group of words.
The arbitrary juxtaposition of elements and the nature of the assembled objects recall post-Cubist collages or papiers collés. Grouped together under the heading Accessories Counter, ordinary things - work gloves, food cans, cooking utensils, chairs - camp out on a stage where they take on a gestural function and express intention over the general situation. Hence the exhibition's title, How Things Think.
This active community of objects confers onto images the ability to talk. A tilting head, a recalcitrant deck chair, a vinyl disk on a revolving turntable, colored-light fields with the names of absent actors as subtitles all become verbal gestures. It’s as though the viewer were assisting a show of language without words. [Excerpt from the press release]
Suzanne Lafont (b.1949 in Nîmes, lives in Paris) is well known for her stylized images and theatrical narrative scenes. She turned to visual art after her literary and philosophical studies, focusing her attention on how images result from a process of cultural elaboration and construction. Her more recent work develops the fictional aspect of images, exploring the ludic potential of illusion.
Since the 1980s, Lafont has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide, among others Dar la cara: El retrato incierto. Fotografía y vídeo 1972-2011, Centre Pompidou Malaga (2021), Des visages: le temps de l’autre, Carré d’Art – Musée d’art contemporain de Nîmes (2020), La photographie en France, 1950-2000, Maison européenne de la Photographie, Paris (2011); elles@centrepompidou, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009); Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography, Tate Modern, London (2008) and Museum Folkwang, Essen (2009); Universal Archive, Macba, Barcelona (2008); REAL. Portrait from a corporate collector of DZ Bank, Städel Museum, Frankfurt (2008); as well as documenta IX (1992) and documenta X (1997).
Solo exhibitions include Nouvelles espèces de compagnie. Roman, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, 2019; Situation Comedy, MUDAM, Luxembourg (2011); Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo (2005); Musée d’Art Contemporain de Marseille (1999); Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris (1992). Index was Lafont’s first collaboration with Erna Hecey Gallery in Brussels (2008). Erna Hecey presented a solo exhibition focusing on Index and Situations Comedy at Paris Photo in 2015, followed the same year by SITUATIONS, a major solo exhibition at Carée d’Art, Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes.