Ghost objects,
recording and loss

2008 [EN]

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I make my object from photocopies. I start with a real object which I photograph from all six sides and then I make a black-and-white real-sized paper envelope out of them. I consider the objects that I make to be resurrected from a junk yard of ghost objects. I make objects but also the patterns for these objects. That is to say that they can be reconstituted whenever you want. The idea that one day I may want long after the radio, the alarm clock, things we have inherited or just some really ordinary things - long after they've disappeared or don't work any more, or we've given them away - to reconstitute these objects using a photographic trace. So that's why I feel it's a question of being able to call back objects which have disappeared or which I've never even seen before or which belong to someone else.

At the moment I use many image-making techniques such as painting on phosphorescent canvas, obtained by exposure to video light, or paper sculptures made by photocopying objects. By using several contrasting media in one installation I allow the value system of the object to be revealed. In these examples the first device questions the value of the images taking time into consideration, while the second device questions the material value of the object because it allows me to extract and to preserve only the symbolic value system of the object.

I would say that I am a photographer, with the claim to being a mere witness who captures a passing moment. I'm perpetually confronted with the problem of how to portray my objects and from which angle they should be viewed. To clarify my remarks on this subject I will now quote an excerpt from the introductory text of Andreas Gursky by Barbara Hess*:

“His photographs seem to raise the question of the role allocated to the individual in the worldwide economic and cultural integration. He frequently illustrates human beings as a mass in the form of ornamental abstractions. Gursky photographs also seem to want to draw attention to the camera itself, which is still able to capture the individual while the bare eye has long failed to do so.”

Here I keep the idea of the bare eye, unable to see, a problem which I try to respond to by using this process of revelation. To try to show more clearly the aim of this process I quote Raimar Strange* about Thomas Demand:

“The artist Thomas Demand is a photographer and is also a sculptor, for everything he photographs has been painstakingly and precisely created by him. His subjects range from single interiors to whole buildings, even entire streets. On second glance these locations, most of which remain deserted, are revealed to be models, and questions arise: what is the original, which is the fabrication and at what point are the boundaries of simulation reached ?”

The problem of the subject, and thus the choice of a subject is mentioned here and solved by the construction of environments and objects in those environments. My choice of objects will also cover these types of environments without human presence, the only difference being that I start my production by focusing on everyday objects which may be displayed as unique or one of many.

I find in this quote another important concept about what my work should reveal. Locations or objects appear to be real until second glance. In my work it is the object and not the location that appears to be real at first glance. I pose the question, as stated, of the original and the copy. In my case, the copy must be a revelation, and that is why I mention above the act of photographing. It gives me the opportunity to change how the object looks if it appears too similar to the original. I am very sensitive to all stages of interpretation of a subject, and in some cases photography is a way for me to work on the topic of loss, or even leads to a form of saturation of the subject itself: objects can become models for themselves.

Today I envisage these new forms. Through sculpture, I question the state of recording technologies and memory (data bases or archives). Through my design, I question the state of serial production. My work is at the crossroads of many disciplines, from video to theatre, from sculpture to music.

Contact thomas.delord@gmail.com