MON BEAU SAPIN!
OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE & PHOTO-SERIE
Translated to english as “My beautiful tree”, this project is a photographic and performative initiative about Christmas trees left on the pavements of Berlin in the first weeks of the new year 2021. The series of photographs is the result of self-portraits, taken with a self-timer on a stand and thus framed beforehand by myself.
The artist stands still in multiple positions next to her green partners while keeping a moderate distance from her subject, as an act of respect for the dead. The repetition of situational shots in the same context, resulting from the multitude of abandoned fir
trees on the pavement, gives an almost cinematographic dynamic to the series of colour photographs in which the artist and the fir tree form a pair of actors who obscure their environment on the pavement. This double presence of dead and alive in the public space questions our era, our relationship with others, and even our indifference to the daily life we have become accustomed to: that of the homeless and the consumer society that is quick to discard its waste after each festivity, even if it is symbolic, and this in the same shared space of the city. Our consumerist and Christian society is illustrated at Christmas by its contradictions and difficulties of change. Buying a freshly cut tree, only for a few days of festivities, is an old tradition that is still practiced a lot today. Consume and then throw away! How can we interpret and change these traditions? Through his self-portraits, the artist reveals the analogy between the tree and the man lying in the street. “Rootless, homeless, excluded, useless! In this way the artist questions the presence of the homeless and migrants who are so numerous in the cities. Her message is not only that of the acrobat,
but it resonates with the societal and political approach of artists such as Krzystof Wodiczko and his Homeless Vehicle Project in New York or Mathieu Pernot and his photographs of migrants in the Calais Jungle. Josephine Auffray’s body is no longer that of a light dancer, it carries the weight of the responsible artist who confronts the realities of our post-modern society in an aesthetic attitude and form that is very current and relevant.
CONCEPT & PHOTOGRAPHY: JOSÉPHINE AUFFRAY