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Exaggerated For Effect

Friday, October 29, 2010 · 3 Comments

“Totems” by Alain Delorme (via Black Eiffel) with wonderful commentary by photography historian, Raphaële Bertho. I’m not normally one for lengthy art critiques but this is actually one of the more beautiful passages I’ve read in a while. Bertho makes the necessary historical and socioeconomic connections from “Totems” but keeps his critique focused and meaningful even to those without extensive art history knowledge.

The new Totems series by Alain Delorme plunges us into the core of contemporary China and its complexity.  Under the blue sky of a highly colored Shanghai, men carry throughout the city unbelievable piles. These precarious columns made of cardboard or chairs appear as new totems of a society in complete transformation, both a factory for the world and a new El Dorado of the market economy.

…Their loads indeed soar up dangerously towards the sky, ephemeral structures with instable balance. Like the new Realists, Alain Delorme shows subtly a part of reality and offers it a usually unnoticed meaning. These piles become sculptures, real works of art. Following the process of fetishization, they lose their functional value and gain a symbolical one. These objects, by nature reproducible and interchangeable, seem to acquire an almost sacred status. With a look of humor and poetry, Alain Delorme settles us in the heart of the new “Chinese dream.”

…Far from a hymn to materialism, these images, putting forward the overabundance of the objects, tend to the absurd and let catch a glimpse of the complexity of a country reinventing itself. Between dream and reality, these pictures turn upside down the scales of values and blur the border between the visible and the invisible. – Raphaële Bertho, photography historian..

Tags: Art

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 annamaria // Oct 31, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    This is exquisite work- I love the way these photographs reach out to so many different levels of inquiry-cultural-social-visual-Thank you-I think I will link up to this from my blog-:^)

  • 2 Kate // Oct 31, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Annamaria, I completely agree! They are captivating on so many levels which makes them so fantastic! Glad you enjoyed the post. : )

  • 3 lila // Nov 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    love your awesome blog!

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