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Eventually she tore the dummy’s body open to insert a more supple spine. One never knows what a body can do, even stuffed.
The dummy was made by crude means, and its male partner in the following series will prove even cruder, to the point of dissolving under our very eyes. So there’s something more than the body that counts. Roland Barthes superbly called it: »a pose«. When I pose, “I instantaneously make another body for myself«, he remarked. It is the pose that glows in these photographs, and not the body, its dark shell. The »other body« is made of forces and endowed with immaterial power. In the early 1980s, Iris Klein spent seven years in Japan, reflecting on this phenomenon in light of Noh theatre, in which the body is only the »spectral effigy« of what it is not. Like theatre, photography has the capacity to evoke symbolically and allegorically a world of emotions that can only be invoked through precise rituals.
What Klein learned is that the more restrained the movement on the stage, the more it projects forces, and the fuller the resonance. Antonin Artaud called »double« this musculature of emotions, this restrained motion verging on total immobility. It is this double that the artist has been trying to lift from the aura of the dark ages, from the glitter of movie stars, and from a world that is losing its reality. It also makes perfect sense that this »doubling effect« would be the very essence of photography. For what is photography, if not the pose that makes another body of oneself?
From the very start, photography tied its fate to death. Death is the Doppelgänger overshadowing every attempt photography ever made to inscribe the timely into the intemporal. It is the shadow that walks silently by its side, and confers upon it its ultimate value. The »untimely« always comes in due time to claim its due. In the black series, this shadow was still one with the negative photographs. The reversal was just a way of probing the limits of personal erasure in an impersonal world whose secret seems to have evaporated.