The artist’s photographs shed light on the notion of a fluid bodily experience,
an idea also showcased this autumn winter 20/21 season.
In 1988, Frédéric Fontenoy was 25 years old. He had completed his photography studies and laid the foundations for his artistic work in a first series, Metamorphosis, where he used his own body as a highly expressive tool to open and full mark minds. This approach continues to speak to us, and we wanted to tie it into the vision of autumn winter 20/21.
This season, the body occupies a central place. Its textures (folds and wrinkles), its colours (pink beiges such as «prothesis », « l’exo-nude » and « pink navel ») infuse fabrics with a compassionate and much-needed humanity. Ads and brands present images of bodies that are less standardized, freed of complexes, liberated. Society as a whole now welcomes multiple identities, and turns to other models. Singularity and diversity are emerging as strengths. At a time when individual existence is paramount, differentiating oneself, asserting oneself, is key to a sense of fulfilment.
In Frédéric Fontenoy’s work, difference is taken to the point of oddity. He shoots in uninhabited natural spaces, achieving a true physical performance in front of his panoramic camera, set to long exposure times. His naked body takes over the space. He contorts himself, gestures, printing his motions on the conventional film he uses. Limbs multiply or disappear. Deformed, improbable, blurry, moving, surrealist, the body becomes an abstraction, a set of fluid possibilities.
A new fashion aesthetic has appeared. It has been described as “new gender” (the difference between male and female fashions disappears), “No gender” (departing from a binary male-female vision, moving from one to the other, like the rapper Young Thug wearing a dress), “Neutral gender” (unisex pieces that can be worn by men as well as women: style over gender). We now speak of ” Gender Fluid ” to designate a breakdown of the dress code, a fashion free of any identity constraints in terms of X or Y, separating clothing from sexuality, because the question has been transcended and other values are taking over.
Frédéric Fontenoy’s avant-garde photographs contain a little of all of this. The body extricates itself from suffocating aesthetic norms and pushes back its limits. He favours mobility, questioning its place in nature. Personal and universal, intimate but potentially exuberant, he chooses the odd, not out of activism, but out of a taste for freedom.