It has been over fifteen years I have been shaping an artwork, which is meant to grow one day at a time, named “En l’état, 13 Juillet 1999 - Aujourd’hui” (As is, July 13th 1999-Today). Never away from my tool, my camera, I record what I see, what troubles me, moves me (…); I accumulate images, build my own encyclopaedia by making up words, my language. I can only release a few fragments of this collection, which gets thicker every day.
And so I became a “revealer” of images; images that show themselves at different depths: sensorial, temporal, semantic, emotional, contemplative… In this way, it is obsession that prevails above all in this work that is almost endless, except at my own death, because it is the one thing, in the form of a serious accident, which led me to start my work.
“En l’état”, as it is, but what is real? Certainly not photography.
City of Quartz
Last April, I travelled to California. It was necessary, in my opinion, to face the civilisation of the image; the one of clichés too, as many artists have before. San Francisco, the desert around Palm Springs, and Los Angeles above all.
Through Hollywood’s stars of cinema, photography and literature, everyone has built his own vision, often grandiloquent fantasy of the American “West Coast”.
I have preferred walking in the world capital of cars and began my exploration.
As soon as I arrived, I started writing, relating my days every evening and posting it on Facebook as on a blog. Indeed, many anecdotes happen to me in the street; even though it is often related to my pictures, these “stories” are feelings in which I explore my way to be in the world. It’s a little bit like the “off-camera” principle, but a temporal and situation-related one, if I may say so; what happens before and after the picture for example, which is not necessarily expressible in photography.
And so, I have quickly been read a lot through Facebook and this kept me going through the 26 days of my trip. Even exhausted, after 8 or 10 hours of walking under the Californian sun, my diary had to take shape every evening.
This experience, close to live broadcast, means to demonstrate how reality, “the street”, landscapes, grabs me as I drift intellectually and physically through these spaces, led by my view, my thoughts, my encounters, as a mad stray dog, an untied poet, blown away by the wind.
Franck Gérard, July 2014
Franck Gérard practices photography since he went to the Beaux-Arts school of Nantes. The series « En l’état, 13 Juillet 1999 – Aujourd’hui » (As is, July 13th 1999 – Today) covers almost all his collection of images. Perpetuating humanist photography, Franck Gérard cultivates a deep empathy for his contemporaries. If he does not neglect landscape, his favourite playground remains the street, the city, that he strides along during hours, catching the unusual in his lens, the incongruous he glances at. As a full-time photographer, he considers his camera an extension of his eye. His photographical practice is associated with wandering, central concept of his medium approach.
To Franck Gerard, photography is an attempt to seize reality. The accumulation, the abundance of pictures seems like an attempt to survive, to save these thin revelations of the every day life. His pictures reveal, without any contempt, our weaknesses, our contradictions, our loneliness and our attempts to overcome them. They sometime reveal the object’s inner poetry that surrounds us : sculptures appear out of thin air, the words engraved in the landscape take another meaning.
With Twenty-six days, his American diary, Franck Gérard invites writing to accompany his pictures. He invites us to share his wanderings, from San Francisco to New York through Los Angeles and the desert, posting everyday on Facebook a photograph and a text. The picture is amplified, enhanced by the story. Without being only an illustration for the text, the photograph is then the acme of a lived and depicted almost instantaneously experience. Franck Gérard’s chronicles immerse us into the world as he sees and perceives it, and as it come to life in his pictures.
Franck Gérard is born in Poitiers in 1972 and graduated from the Beaux-Arts school of Nantes. In 2013, the artist was commissioned to create the series “Manifester En l’Etat“, by the Ministry of Culture – National center of visual arts – CNAP, in Marseille. This work will be also presented in the Frac PACA Provence- Alpes-Côte-d’Azur in Marseille in September. In 2012, during the Nuit Blanche (all-nighter) in Paris, he gave a seven-hour “performed” conference (19:00-2:00), En l’état, User les images, Hémicycle du Palais d’Iéna, CESE.
His work has been exhibited at Lieu Unique in Nantes, at Domaine de Kerguéhennec in Morbihan, at Fondation d’entreprise Ricard in Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou-Metz.