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At first, Thibault Hazelzet’s images can be quite puzzling : acting as reflecting surfaces which disconcert the viewer, their effects of transparency and reflection combine, challenging the images’ legibility, between windows open to the world and inner mirror. Concealments, scratching, traces, superpositions, stratums, all work together in creating unlikely perspectives and discordant spatial logics. The spaces exposed are neither completely present nor absent, but they are rather an undefined area in which three spaces interact, these spaces being, in fact, real, but of very different nature : the one of the studio of the photo shoot, the one of the ephemeral architectures built by Thibault Hazelzet for the occasion, and, final but not least, the one of the camera’s photographic chamber itself. These three spaces unite and transform, with the action of the photographic process itself, to give birth to a fourth space, this time in two dimensions.

This « in-between » is a proposition for which Thibault Hazelzet takes full responsibility. For whoever tries to behold the secrets to these photographic limbs, a new interrogation arises regarding the unclassifiable technical process itself. Graphic pieces? Photography? Silver or numerical devices? Let’s just say that the complex creative process (which we shall not reveal here) combines silver photography, graphic work and an architectural approach. Once completed, each unique proof will be accompagnied, on its reverse side, by the ektachrome from which it was generated : what may be perceived as a somewhat ostentatious gesture, integrates, in the end, an extremely coherent approach. In doing so, Thibault Hazelzet asserts the power of unicity, against the multiple nature of photography.

Inevitably, this assertion leads us to probe into how these images can relate to painting. Thibault Hazelzet himself encourages us in this direction by his use of titles for his series. Beyond their references to classical culture, the titles refer explicitely to a tradition of historical and religious painting. But once again the lead prooves unconclusive. It would be vain to believe that it is still possible, in a present context, to paint and represent great founding myths by any means other than reliefs. Hence the deceptive titles, which expose the absence and point out the emptiness : only traces and hints are left to see of the Danae and Depositions, which become spaces deprived of figures, scenes from which actors have dropped out, deserted architectures. From this perspective, each of these images could be spoken of in terms of a mental image : a collection of distant and muddled memories of pieces of painting which Thibault Hazelzet, in the seclusion of his studio, reactivates by other means.

 

Quentin Bajac, 2009