Patrick Faigenbaum

Born in 1954 in Paris (FR)
Lives and works in Paris (FR)

Famille Frescobaldi

Black and white photograph, gelatin-silver print
40 x 40 cm
Year of Purchase: 1987

Patrick Faigenbaum belongs to the generation of artist-photographers who, in the mid-1980s, revolutionized the perception of photography in France. Unlike his colleagues (Jean-Marc Bustamante, Jean-Luc Moulène, Suzanne Lafont), Patrick Faigenbaum incorporated his praxis in an approach strongly marked by the history of photography. The fact that the portrait, for him, is an essential motif, thus owes nothing to chance. In grappling with the depiction of the human figure, he demonstrates that the plastic presence of any body proceeds by way of a certain petrification. In this way, the instant recording can be compared with a process of mineralization which not only freezes a scene and a body, but also time, as is shown by the extraordinary quality of his prints. With Faigenbaum, human beings are akin to statuary, as if the better to bring out a presence that is essentially indefinable. The presents series at the Frac originates from a stay in Rome and in Florence in 1985. There, after producing reproductions of emperors’ busts, he embarked upon a long series of portraits of the Italian aristocracy, which would keep him busy for seven years. His questioning of the human figure suddenly took a new form by trying to express the identity of each individual in the network of family resemblances and, above all, in the face of the historic weight of tradition, here present in the impressive setting of these palaces usually closed to outsiders’ eyes.

Damien Sausset