Roselyne Titaud, Ohne Titel, Korallen, Museum Rosenstein (Sans titre, Coraux, Musée Rosenstein), Stuttgart, 2010. 15 x 15 cm.
Roselyne Titaud, Ohne Titel, 'Die Fensterrose', 'Das Oktogon' (Untitled, The rosette, The Octogon),
Berlin, 2011. Collection MAMC, Saint-Étienne. Photo Yves Bresson.
Roselyne Titaud, Ohne Titel, 'Tiefe', Weinberg Park (Untitled, Depth, Park of Weinberg), Berlin, 2011. 60 x 60 cm.
Roselyne Titaud, 'Chinesisches Vase, Wunderkammer' (Chinese vase, curiosities Cabinet), Berlin, 2015. 20 x 25 cm.
Roselyne Titaud, Ohne Titel (Untitled) Berlin, Marzahn, 2013. 30 x 30 cm. Collection of the artist.
Roselyne Titaud is a French photographer, born in Aubenas in 1977. She graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts de Saint-Étienne in 2001 and has lived in Berlin since 2010. This exhibition presents photographs from various series realised between 2010 and 2015. Amongst these works, 'Das Oktogon' (The Octagon) includes four photographs from the Musée d’art modern et contemporain’s own collection.
INSZENIEREN OR PARTICULAR ARRANGEMENTS
The German title of the exhibition expresses the idea of ‘staging’, or ‘stage-managing’ something. And indeed, Roselyne Titaud’s work reveals a fascination for domestic interiors. The objects from people’s private spaces which she photographs become as it were ‘hollow portraits’1 (of absent individuals. The qualities of these objects and the particular way they are arranged are representative of a social milieu. They express the personality and interests of the inhabitants.
Titaud is also interested in other kinds of mise-enscène: the exhibition of the displays with their glass jars in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History; the water-weed ballet in a lake in Weinberg Park, Berlin; the imposing, classical melody of the thick velvet carpet in the entrance to the Grand Hotel, Berlin; and in the Hufeisensiedlung2, a banister rail that looks like a harp. With the astute orchestration of her points of view and the framing of her shots, Roselyne Titaud is like an orchestra conductor
DEVELOPING THE IMAGE; INTANGIBLE MEMORIES
Roselyne Titaud works with traditional film. As she explains, ‘Conventional film photography presupposes a time scheme and a specific economy; the image forms in the camera’s viewfinder and is wiped out by the next shot. It only becomes an effective presence when it is printed.’3 In the catalogue of Ordre/s, she explains the context of her interior photographs, ‘My subjects have nothing to do with the specific moment; the story they tell is different, it is something that hasn’t stopped, not just in the photograph, but also in reality.’4
As a child, Titaud often moved house and her gaze was honed by this constant moving of objects. Her photographs are composed with great rigour. The exhibition mixes images from various different series, which creates new connection between them and can suggest new possible interpretations of her mise-en-scènes.
FRAMING THE PHOTO; AURAS OF REFLECTED LIGHT
Roselyne Titaud has an incisive eye. She was particularly influenced by German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, and American photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975). Her shots are realised with extreme precision. They introduce a space outside the image, an out-of-frame element. The objects cut off by the frame become fragments assembled on the different planes of the image. In the Korallen (Corals) series, she has positioned her camera so that it captures what she wants to include in the image, leaving the edges of the display case out of kilter with the frame of the photograph. The alignment of the frame echoes the alignment of the glass jars with auras of reflected light.
Curiously enough, although the image is fixed it is not imposed. In the Wunderkammer series (Cabinet of Curiosities), the eye is eventually drawn to unexpected details: a raised doorknob, a flex, a missing switch, the thermostat of a radiator.
The emotional or affective intensity evinced by these objects and various other curiosities is emphasised by the photographer’s attention to the subtleties of shades of light. One is reminded of 17th century Dutch still-lifes or the paintings of Jean-Baptiste Chardin (1699-1779), a painter greatly admired by Roselyne Titaud. Those lights have the look of intensely pale auras, cold, and soft with the thickness of mist and something of its opacity. There is a suggestion of tracing paper.
REPRESENTING THE REPRESENTATION
This interrogation of the world is made explicit in some of the photographs that reveal the limits of the representational space. As well as an out-offrame element there is also a mise en abyme - a photograph within the photograph. Some artificial penguins are set up in front of a background image representing a glaring, white ice field. Similarly, some people are setting up their furniture and effects in front of luxuriant jungle landscapes or beach paradises. Roselyne Titaud emphasizes the artificial character of these photographic landscapes, which she has turned into a decor, within which to play out fictions that overlap with reality. The appeal of the photography lies in its capacity for artifice.
In the intimacy of private or public spaces, our eye is invited to perceive the dominant codes involved in the construction of our environments. The rigged element in the subjects is never hidden. A furry, oversized bumblebee, for example, is artificially attached by nylon threads to an iris made of resin. The photograph includes all the necessary clues for us not to be taken in by the kitsch aesthetics.
Whether it is in little arrangements in a domestic setting or elaborate setups involving museums and architecture, Roselyne Titaud’s photographs lead the eye beyond the artifice of appearances towards a more sincere reconstruction of things that concern our humanity.
(1) Interview in French with Roselyne Titaud published on the site L’OEil dans sa poche in 2009.
(2) Hufeisensiedlung («Horseshoe Estate»): a housing estate in Berlin, designed by architect Bruno Taut (1880-1938) and built in 1925-33. It is internationally renowned as a milestone of modern urban housing.
(3) Roselyne Titaud, interviewed by Martine Dancer-Mourès, (curator of the exhibition), 2011.
(4) Jean-Baptiste Joly, Roselyne Titaud, cited in ‘Roselyne Titaud, Solitude quotidien / Alltäglich’, exhibition catalogue jointly published by Akademie Schloss Solitude and the Association Des Écoles supérieures d’art de Rhône-Alpes (ADERA), 2010.