Fiction and Reality - The Fantastical World Created by Photographer Cédric Delsaux
The Highly Acclaimed Photography Exhibition Arrives in Japan.
DIESEL ART GALLERY hosts French photographer Cédric Delsaux’s first ever exhibition in Japan, “DARK
LENS,” at a time when the latest episode of a Science Fiction saga with an enthusiastic worldwide fan
base is set to be released.
The AT-AT Walker that wanders through a thick fog, the Speeder bike that dashes through a bleak city or
the Millennium Falcon that touches down on a building site in Dubai… at first glance it appears that the
characters produced by George Lucas have invaded our physical world.
Cédric Delsaux selects environments that he refers to as “non-lieux” –ruins or undeveloped cityscapes
that lack human warmth and soul, such as the disused sites on the edges of Paris or the city of Dubai with
its fast-paced urban construction. When the characters from “Star Wars” are inserted into this landscape, a
strange “double déjà vu” takes place: A combination of two familiar yet incompatible elements. The
surrounding landscape, buildings and construction sites are scenes that are commonplace to us and our
daily lives. And almost 40 years since these sci-fi heroes emerged, they are now fully integrated into our
culture, becoming infamous figures that are recognizable even without seeing the films firsthand.
Receiving high praise from George Lucas himself, "DARK LENS" plants itself on this conflict between
reality and fiction, attempting to shake up these boundaries. The "DARK LENS" world introduced by
DIESEL ART GALLERY is a poetic encounter between the characters of Star Wars and the impersonal
places that are symbolic of (post)-modernity.
This exhibition presents 14 pieces from the “DARK LENS” series alongside a moving image piece. In addition, related publications will be on sale during the exhibition.
--Could you please introduce yourself?
I am a French photographer residing in Paris, currently living in what is known as the beginning of the 21st Century.
--What is the meaning and concept behind this exhibition title?
There is a ‘dark side’ or evil to everyone. It might be lurking in people’s hearts or it might be a ‘necessary evil’ for accomplishing good. I wanted to seek out this ‘dark side’ through the camera ‘lens.’ The exhibition title is a combination of this ‘dark side’ and ‘lens’. And, instead of simple pursuing this ‘dark side,’ I wanted to pay homage to the Star Wars characters that are used.
--How did the “DARK LENS” series come about, and what was the creative process behind it?
Since I was a child, I felt a near future type fiction – in other words science fiction - in commonplace settings like car parks. I wanted to convey this to other people. In order to express this, I felt that the perfect science fiction Star Wars was the right fit, resulting in the birth of this series. Hence the photo shoot location was extremely important to “DARK LENS” and everything came alive from this location.
--There should be some conflict between the fantasy world of sci-fi and the real-world environment, and yet your work fuses this without any sense of incongruity. Was there anything that you were particularly cautious about during production?
The most important thing is balance. I pay careful attention to the balance of power between the reality of these everyday environments and the aura of these Star Wars characters. There are others like me who have taken Star Wars photographs, yet most are parodies. I didn’t want to make a parody. The balance is essential in making sure it doesn’t become a parody.
-- This series received high praise from the creator of Star Wars himself, George Lucas. Please tell us how George Lucas came to know about the “DARK LENS” series.
In 2010, there was a Star Wars convention in Orlando, in the United States. I was invited to dinner, where my artwork was on display. That day, George Lucas was also in attendance and saw my work for the first time. He was surprised but took a liking to it. From there, he wrote the introduction to my book.
--What is your favourite character from the Star Wars series? And have you seen the new episode?
I don’t have any favourite characters. If I had to choose, I’d say Han Solo, who is popular with the fans. And a character of great interest to me is Darth Vader. He is complicated and most fascinating. And yes, I have seen the new episode.
--What got you into photography?
In order to think, I used to walk a lot. I can collect my thoughts more if I walk. I wanted to give shape to the impressions left by the landscapes that I’d seen, and I wanted to convey them to someone. I felt that the best method for this was photography, and so I became a photographer.
--What is your source of inspiration?
I deliberately try not to think about my source of inspiration. If I understand where my inspiration comes from, I risk being influenced by it. But I’d say much of my inspiration comes from books where the imagination is necessary, rather than from anything visual.
--Are you influenced by any artists or films?
I’m influenced by all kinds of things, but not by any particular artists or films.
--You’d been wanting to visit Japan... how was it for you? Was it different than what you imagined or did you experience any culture shock?
I’d always wanted to go to Japan and so I’m so glad that this exhibition gave me the opportunity to visit. Before going, I had many ideas about what it would be like; I was really looking forward to it. When I actually visited, it exceeded my expectations; it was wonderful. Japan has so many mysterious qualities. I also felt that Japanese people have a great respect for the fundamental cultures and ideas that are extinct in most modern countries.
--How do you spend your time off?
I am an artist 24 hours a day, 356 days a year, so I don’t have any ‘time off’. I guess my ‘real life’ is spent with my family and children. ‘Real life’ is invaluable to me.
--Why is photography so appealing to you?
Photography has more freedom than film, as one photograph can tell many stories. In addition, unlike a moving image a photograph is static and doesn’t produce sound so Its impact is immediate. Although as a static image, painting often gets compared to photography, photography is generally believed to have more reality. However like painting, photographs, depending on the way they’re taken, can avoid complete reality. I feel that photography’s appeal is in its ability to bring to attention many things through one scene, and in its contradiction in being both real and fictional.
--Please tell us about your future projects.
I want to go to Japan again as soon as possible. This stay was short but there were so many wonderful places. I would like to create a “DARK LENS” series or another series based on Japan.
--Do you have a message for people who may view your artwork in the future?
Whether you are a photography fan or a Star Wars fan or a fan of neither, please enjoy it with an open heart.