Thru 09 May 2012
At Foam Amsterdam
In Sans Titre (Monsieur Bertillon), Stéphanie Solinas (France, 1978) investigates the identification system invented by Alphonse Bertillon in the 1880's. Bertillon (Paris, 1853 - 1914) was a French police officer who developed "judicial anthropometry", based on physical measurements and photography. Anthropometrics was the first scientific system to be used by police to identify criminals (previously, the only way was to use unreliable eye witness accounts). Bertillon's method was eventually eclipsed by fingerprinting, but his contributions, such as the mug shot and the system of photographing the crime scene, remain in use today. His system has been progressively extended to all individuals; for Solinas, our face is a surface where Bertillon's inquisitive presence still remains.
The exhibition compiles the various facets of Solinas's study in a photographic installation: photographs, voices, a handmade Bertillon paper-mask, the book in which the individual components of Bertillon's face are included, and an instructional video that shows how to make a three-dimensional mask from the book.
Solinas used Bertillon's own portrait (taken head-on and in profile) from his 1893 file, created in order to promote his identification system. Running it through software specifically designed to perform facial analyses, she produced a three-dimensional interpretation in paper. Solinas subsequently cut this up into separate pieces and organised them to recreate Bertillon's omniscient face.
Starting from the biography, The Life of Alphonse Bertillon, Inventor of Anthropometry, written by the inventor's niece, Suzanne Bertillon, in 1941, Solinas identified and photographed various sites in the Paris area that played a significant role in Bertillon's life and career. The photographs are accompanied by a voice reading from passages in the book.
With the book, Sans Titre, M.Bertillon (published by RVB Books), Solinas offers everyone the possibility to conceive their own image of Alphonse Bertillon's face. With photographs and text extracts and elements to cut out from the book, everyone can create it and make it their own, in this way starting the re-appropriation of his face.
In a video imagined as a user's guide, Solinas shows how the individual components can be put back together again to create a three-dimensional mask of Bertillon's face.
Sans Titre, M.Bertillon will be on sale in the Foam bookshop.
Stéphanie Solinas uses her work to explore contemporary ideas about identity that are informed by practical applications within photography. Solinas studied photography at ENS Louis Lumière. Her work is featured in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Musée d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, as well as numerous private collections. Stéphanie Solinas's work has been published in a variety of international magazines and shown in exhibitions in France, the UK, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Japan and the US. Solinas lives in Paris (France) and Barcelona (Spain).
Daily 10am - 6pm Th/Fr 10am - 9pm
Foam enables people all over the world to experience and enjoy photography, whether it's at our museum in Amsterdam, on the website, via our internationally distributed magazine or in our Editions department. Foam is for photographers, picture editors, designers and all those who have a passion for photography. We focus especially on exhibitions, publications, discussions and specific projects relevant to contemporary themes in this field. Of course, well known photographers and historical work has an important place on our agenda. But special attention in our exhibition programme and elsewhere is also given to nurturing upcoming artists.