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Bernard Chevalier


The mannequins, urban fetishes

Fascinated by the power of disturbing strangeness exerted on me by the models who watch me on duty on the sidewalks or behind the windows, I like to track them in the streets of the path and the Barbès district around the Saint-Pierre market. They watch me pass with their fixed eyes as if I didn’t exist any more than them. Some of these bodies, most often naked, sometimes headless or sometimes bodiless, give me signs that I try to capture through the image. These troubled signs are those of the desire that clings to these mute smiles, to these dead eyes, to these body fragments. My eye feels them and expresses them better than I can in words. It draws its science from my visual memory nourished by the metaphysical mannequins in de Chirico’s paintings and by the works of the surrealists who made the mannequin a fetish-object close to equaling the magical power of the wild object: “A fetish that must, at the crossroads of objective chance and sexual fetishism, of amorous desire and urban drift, of fantasy and the fragment, of matter and memory, of duration and the flash of revelation, which must therefore compete with the aura, the fascination, the bewitchment of wild objects. (Georges Sebbag, Philosophy and surrealism).

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