A Self Portrait of the XXth Century
Standard delivery 3 to 7 days
Publication date : 2023/07/01
17 X 21 cm
text by Rémi Coignet
In the 70s and 80s, French artist Nicole Gravier (Arles, 1949) produced a series of images that make up her Mythes & Clichés. Television detective series, advertisements and photo-novels were all opportunities for her to question the commonplaces and stereotypes conveyed by these various images.
It was in Italy, where she had settled, that she discovered the immense popularity of the photo-novel and began to cut out the text for her Romans-Photos series. She kept the text bubbles that seemed to her to be significant of the genre’s clichés, before creating sketches in which she played a female character caught up in sentimental situations. These works are not really self-portraits, but little stagings in which Nicole Gravier is the author and model.
The strength of this approach lies in the joyful complexity she introduces into her work of subversion: appropriation of fictional texts, staging oneself according to the indications of this text, introducing elements into the image that contradict the apparent discourse… All this in a snapshot and colorful aesthetic that contradicts the conventions of the genre.
We’d be tempted to call her work pop-conceptual if Nicole Gravier didn’t still maintain a critical distance from Pop art in general and Andy Warhol in particular. But the notion that best encapsulates her practice is that of semiotic art. This implies that the viewer, if he or she is not to remain on the surface of “words and things”, must carefully “read” these images in search of the multiple signs that the artist has incorporated into them.