Agnes Geoffray is a visual artist based in Brussels and Paris whose work spans the mediums of photography, writing and printing. Above, we present a recent series of her work titled “Sans Titre 2014.”
Below, LensCulture contributing writer Elizabeth Temkin caught up with Geoffray in Paris to find out more about her inspirations and inventive work processes.
LC: In your words, the series “Sans Titre,” “proceeds from a joining and a montage of collected images; of light manipulations.” Can you talk a little bit about the process of assembling this type of collection?
AG: My photography is simultaneously constituted from the work of staging and the work of reappropriation. For this second approach, I collected images, the majority of which were anonymous, gathered from flea markets, the internet, magazines, family archives…I’ve always had a fascination with vernacular photographs. My artistic approach in regards to these photographs consists of carrying out a displacement: either by means of retouching, or by means of combination.
For this project, I collected diverse archival photographs of different genres that share the feeling of suspense in a broad sense. Sometimes this was expressed clearly, like in the photograph of a tightrope walker. Sometimes more subtly, like in the photograph of a horse, alone in front of ruins.
LC: What draws you to this idea of suspension?
AG: A world of latency is glimpsed through my photographic work. With time, latency becomes suspended.
But whatever term you use, what interests me is this suspended moment…this interruption, this pause, this floating image, where before and after rest indefinitely and for invention. With suspension everything remains possible, nothing is definite.
LC: Which artists have inspired you the most over the course of your career?
AG: More than particular artists, I would say it is my attraction and fascination with vernacular photography that inspires me. From amateurs to police or medical archives, it is this found work that has driven my artistic work.
Nevertheless, one photographic moment was revealing. It was at an exhibition I saw many years ago at the Hôtel de Sully in Paris, of police archival photos taken in a single room. Their aesthetic quality exceeded that of simple registration documents. Like a form of poetry, they were beautifully involved in the scenes of the crimes: an exact and dreadful beauty.
—Agnes Geoffray, interviewed by Elizabeth Temkin