Jean-Michel Leligny was born to a woman in her forties. A few years later, she ended her life. He wanted in this work associating a still wild nature and these portraits of naked women, to pay homage to her, but also to question this symbolic moment which corresponds, in our time and in our society, to the living environment. He thus asked each of these women to choose a place then to intervene on the photo with a text, on this idea of turning forty years old, of time passing away, of youth forever lost, of the body slowly transforming.
Simple pose and without artifice, nature. This work raises the question of the representation of the body in its truth, faced with the return of religious, puritan, or ideological censorship. It should be remembered that the representation of the naked body, other than in mythological or religious scenes, is recent in the history of Western art.
In Les Baigneuses and La Source, Courbet paints women far from the official canons, in the open air. Nature is our mother earth, Pachamama among the Incas, linked to fertility. Except that by becoming “masters and possessors of nature”, according to Descartes’ formula, we have moved away from it, to the point of considering it as an object, only there to satisfy our needs, but also our demiurge desires. Time is running out for us. He photographs these women in their forties in a natural environment that seems devoid of any human trace, or in reconquest of their environment. Both a distress in the face of the announced disappearance, but also a hope, that of a different world carried by femininity.
On each image is affixed a plate engraved with the number of days of each woman at the time of the shooting, a kind of countdown of the remaining time.
Born in 1959, Jean-Michel Leligny was trained at the Ecole Nationale Louis Lumière. In his latest work, he combines photography and writing in different visual forms, and uses his personal story to draw from it a universal story that questions the relationship between man and nature in a poetic approach.
Tout va bien, artist book in progress
Tentation de disparition, éditions de Juillet
Terre des Vandales, artist’s book
1944, 30 Normands témoignent, MyNormandie editions
2°20, La France par le milieu, éditions de Juillet
Jean-Michel Leligny: Q U A R A N T E
From February 14 to March 25, 2023
38 rue du Maréchal Joffre
76600 Le Havre
open Wednesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Opening on Saturday February 18 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Meeting around the exhibition on Saturday March 4 at 5