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24 August 2012

Olivier Metzger, Smile (Forever)

Evocative smiles firmly outlined on glacial and ambivalent pouting lips. She wants to live as though she were twenty years younger. In search of renewed youthfulness, she is as old as the other’s gaze makes her.

Vivacious and wanting, tinged with artifice but without making the mistake of pathetic surgery and frozen narcissism, time seems to slide on her smile in a consumerist display, assumed and henceforth permitted.

She is one of those active women who, in their pomp, endorse a new surge of vitality and come to question the notion of identity. These women must in fact invent their new lives. They have no reference framework because ‘those who preceded them were already “old” at this age, or had already passed away’ (Danièle Laufer, Femmes Vintages, Éditions Michel Lafon).

New figures, creatures, it is therefore up to them to invent their role in our society on the move.

Between a new kind of documentary and fictional narrative, we follow a complex and endearing character who leads us to her favourite haunts, now become scenery, in Europe or on the other side of the Atlantic. She leads us in her wake as images of daytime scenes and nocturnal tableaux go by, from her intimate sphere to public spaces where she appears, exposes herself and tries to find herself in an ultimate confrontation, delivered up to the spectator.

Olivier Metzger

Exhibition venue: Atelier des Forges, parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2012.