Philippe Bazin born in 1954 in Nantes.
He lives and works in Paris.
The whole of my artistic project about my fellow creatures' faces puts in perspective their being in the great institutions which control our lives from birth to death, such as Michel Foucault wrote about it in his works, as well as questioning particularity as the foundation of a collective memory for the present. Through the photographs, people who are often given no attention to and have no collective visibility are visible anew . The matter, too, is not so much to make a portrait, in the usual meaning of the phrase, as to claim the presence in the world of beings who are unknown to me but without whom I could not live. This consciousness of otherness is at the heart of my artistic project .
From 1985 to 1993, I did the three big series of faces (old people, new born babies, lunatics) in medical institutions . They are a constituent part of the intentions of my artistic project. The first two ones were published in the book faces in 1990. This work was exhibited at the first biennial event of Lyons in 1991 (L'amour de l'Art ), as well as in Le Printemps de Cahors in 1993.
From 1993 to 1995, I took the photographs of hundreds of secondary school children, in their schools, in a relationship setting the power at work in the institution, so as to give back to each one his utmost uniqueness. The book Adolescents is made up of the photographs of this work carried on along with the study of the faces of the Bourgeois de Calais sculpted by Rodin. The two books were published the same year.
Since 1993, I have also worked on the restoration sites of cultural places. The fleeting architectual transient form of the site stands against the geometry of the institutional program and the expansion of the cultural space as to its value as spectacular consumption. The Piranesesque space is the symbolic feature of these places divided between appearances and more enigmatic and impenetrable substructures. The collection of these photographs, taken between 1993 and 2000, are entitled Anatomies.
Along with various collective exhibitions (Bibliothèque Nationale de France in 1997, Maison Européenne de la Photographie in 1998) , I worked and met more difficult audiences, in a secondary school in a Dunkirk suburb, or in a grammar school in Maubeuge : every time, I had there new personal exhibitions.
Since 1996, I have worked and given my artistic project an indirect perspective through a few articles published about contemporary photographers : Frédéric Lefever, Andreas Gursky, Magdi Senadji, Marc Pataut, Eric Nehr, Christelle Bourgeois. A long interview in Agora magazine as well as a text on the history of photography ( Le coup d'oeil ) gave me the opportunity of precising once more my general artistic trends.
In September 1998, I took the photographs of new born babies in Maubeuge maternity ward. These photographs are the emblems of my work as connected with the institution (the medical sphere, the refusal of classification, protestation), with others, (innocence, reponsibility, normality), with animal nature inside us. They are collected in a book and exhibited with the title nés . Thierry de Duve in Voici, in Brussels Palais des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Centre) showed them in 2000.
In 1999, I was asked by the magazine Transeuropéennes to photograph 48 Yugoslavian militant women belonging to all sorts of ethnic groups and gathered for a symposium in Royaumont : it was the first time, after the end of the Kosovo war, Serbs and Kosovars met around the same table. This work done in collaboration with Christiane Vollaire (interviews), stresses the universal nature, in its modern meaning, of my work and its political characteristic. It was shown in several cultural and militant places in various parts of ex Yugoslavia (Pristina, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Skopje) and welcome as the symbol of their will to reconstruct a network of recognition, understanding and action beyond ethnic and nationalist divisions .
In 2001, I was granted an artist residence in Porto where I was able to work (colour films) on the different faces of men working either on Matosinhos harbour or on the renovation site of the city former jail. This project about the world of work was followed by a video in summer 2002 during a residence in a firm in Scotland. At that time, it was a matter of showing how these workers are part of a political and natural landscape, as well as of a cultural background, both rooted in the collective unconscious and imagination. In 2002 too, during an election compaign, the transparencies of the faces of every French Republic President returned to anonymity and otherness were shown. The project Vues imprenables (unrestricted views) on Lille enlarges this relationship between work and power .
In September 2003, I showed photographs and videos in Dunkirk Fine Arts Museum, Intérieurs, work done with natives of the Comoros living in the city, revealing the ways their being different is denounced every day, and their being unable to express it.
So since early 2000, my artistic project has developed around the notions of joining faces and landscape, whether with the photographs or the videos. Each creation seeks to cross medias and subjects, at the same time reconsidering the relevance of other ones such as Détenus 1996 (prisoners), the large format black and white prints of which are now confronted with videos of towns known for their important or historic prisons : The films of these landscapes exude wait, stillness, and suggest an out of reach world.
Le champ des oiseaux, the latter video (2005) brings into play the work of Battle landscapes (Scotland 2002), while a series of videos is taking shape about the taming of animals in their relationship with so called natural landscapes.