I had in mind a sentence of Ernest Renan “what we say about ourselves is always poetry” , and I returned to walk in the leaves, in the middle of century-old trees. After my series « Chimère » (Chimera), I felt that I had to go back and explore in this forest. As if it was the place of a meeting with oneself, a place of transition towards another state of being. In fairy tales, the forest appears as a space where perceptions get confused, revealing some hidden dimensions of time and consciousness. It was obvious to me that, once again, it would my experimentation room, my infinite workshop.
This series would be a story told from memories. Your story, my story, our story.
I proposed to every person a journey in the intimacy of its memory, in the conquest of an immense, unique, precious memory. They came to me, facing my camera lens, offering me the instant of a memory and I saw re-forming in front of me, through the fleeting smoke, the ghosts of the past, the illusions of the future.
It’s a story. A story about childhood, origin, loneliness, travel, border, dreams, marriage, birth, infinity, absence, death, … It’s a great story. The history of life.
Something jumped out at me the first time I saw a photograph of Linda Tuloup hanging on a wall (was it in a gallery or an apartment, whatever): it is the question of the clearing.
Desire, it seems, would be obscure; in her, on the contrary, it possesses an evidence which illuminates her at the heart of her own clarity. The clearing is the other name of the thinning.
In Linda Tuloup’s photographs, there is a forest that opens up; nudity is placed there, in the clearing of the clearing, and the veils which are stretched between the trees and the bodies (fabrics, smoke, masks) repeat the immemorial history of the desire which is offered by concealing itself.
It’s an original scene, and it’s pretty crazy to see it take place today, with black and white dullness, as if we were in the afternoon of the world. I say afternoon, and not morning, because it seems to me that the moment Linda Tuloup presses the shutter, the humans have already been kicked out of paradise, the separation has taken place, we are after, in a suspended breath.
It seems to me that in this photographic world the sexual difference is really at work: it blurs both the relationships and clarifies them: there are no men in her photos.
The forest is feminine, full of reflections, with a woman who photographs (who watches, hunts, desires) and a woman who is photographed (sometimes it is the same). This feminine world, populated by animals, is violently addressed to men.
And then I like that in Linda Tuloup’s photographs desire is not linked to death. Finding this place where you want without dying is my quest.
Here, I turn around this scene in my books, I think all the time about the nudity of the women and the glance on them of the men. I write to adjust this look – to make it fair. To see better too. To love better. So the world of Linda Tuloup attracted me; write no at but with his photographs seemed obvious to me. In my turn, thanks to them, I became crystal clear.
Linda Tuloup showed me a series of images, and I saw a path that was invented between them, a path that led to the clearing. I let myself be invited, the sentences were written like this, through the play of attraction. I wrote a little erotic story, the story of a man who prowls on the edge of the woods, and who enters to see better.
Self-portrait: it was Hippolyte Bayard who started. In 1840, mortified at not having been recognized as the inventor of photography, he chose to represent himself as a drowned man and post mortem his false suicide. Does he know then that through this inaugural device, through this truly brilliant staging, he will for a long time install photography in the referential register that will mark his entire history: relation to truth, relation to identity, relation to death?
Even more disturbing, this precocious Self-portrait drowned is already naked.
One hundred and seventy years later, the pink room by Linda Tuloup subtly assigns the same autofictional charge to the darkroom. Offer the self-image that is offered.
Full life icon versus false death image. Bare truth. Who operates? Who is watching ? And that word that simply says “Wait”.
All rooms look alike, but this one is pink, resembling a big theater, a chaos of words and desires. All rooms look alike, except that this one is continually crossed by a blade of light.
This pink room where Linda Tuloup takes us, this room, this song, with a window on bodies. After what storm, after what shipwreak, do we arrive, spectators of these exhausted bodies, grounded, rolling, unrolling in slow waves on the sheets ?
All rooms look alike, all bodies assemble. Linda Tuloup, with these words – “come” – “now” – “you’re crazy” …. – speaks of presences, but never shows the Other One : lovers, like all men, are phantoms. Maybe they are absent, gone on a trip, smoking a cigarette in the kitchen, going home to their wives? It’s a pink room, a hotel room, a room for life: a room for writing, a room of tears where we part and meet again, a room where the sheets are sometimes icey, sometimes torn and burning, no one knows, and so what. We are invited to take a look.
Through the misty brightness of dawn, an animal’s-soul in flesh advances.
We return to the kingdom of witchcraft. Photography, before being mechanical is an alchemy : living matter, movement, a game of masks and mirrors, of fusions and putrefactions. So alone on earth, we are bored with our cities and countries : forests have no mysteries, we can no longer have our throat cut by brigands, eaten up by hyenas or infernal spirits. By games of illusions and mirages, lost roads and daydreams, Linda Tuloup, by her incantations and ill fates, reveals, imposes, to our everyday life a divine kind of reality, feline and feminine. Illusions are as much promises of hapiness as they are of destruction, arson as much as bonfire. They remind us of a time when gods, humans and animals were side by side, conspiring, copulating and giving birth.
The snake’s song has ceased, we have clothes but hardly magic. The Goddesses are in museums and nudity has never been on the streets, because we may be arrested. Perhaps we must build a temple to look at these apparitions, bow down on our knees, quaver, offer as a sacrifice bad friends and cheap romances ?
In the whirlwind of seasons, where do our illusions take us ? Was their resurrection desired ?