Amalthée The title of this work derives from the name of the goat that nursed infant Zeus, according to Greek mythology. It consisted of photographing mothers with distinct personalities and diverse figures, each of them actually breastfeeding her baby, in the intimate atmosphere of my studio. It is meant to pay photo homage to this universal act, while borrowing references from Italian or Dutch Renaissance painting. There is also a reference to the sensuality which is common in most of the religious paintings since the Middle Ages, frequently close to profane subjects by including suggestive poses and nude figures. By revisiting this icon of the nursing virgin, a central and recurring theme from the 15th to the 17th century, to the point of having marked our collective unconsciousness, I try to question the process of representation and incarnation of such an archetypal image by real and present times mothers, whom I ask to be in an «non-self» attitude, whilst fully living this privileged bond and intimate moment with their child. One of the aims of this work is revealing the universality of this gesture by conveying a sense of timelessness: leaving out any traces of contemporary days, relieving each mother of everything that might give away a point in time or place, I focus on the mother and child relation, as well as on the beauty and emotion emanating from this breastfeeding moment. In order to achieve it I use minimal veils and drapes, to evoke the idea of timelessness and erase these women’s identity features. Inside my studio, as single spectator of this symbiotic scene, I observe, stare at and thus extract the evasive moments of state of grace, when the outlines of an «out of time» attitude are manifested along with the sensation of a pictorial déjà vu. Far from the idea of intending to plagiarize or imitate this or that representation of a nursing virgin by using a specific model, I try to understand how certain mechanisms of introjective identification operate, in the case of assimilation of simple and yet so powerful images as those of Christian iconography Madonnas. The other intention of this work is to question what photography, as a reality transcription tool, could provide further or more than painting, to the construction of this kind of image, along with its power to unveil the details that Renaissance painters wouldn’t or couldn’t see nor represent.
Georges Pacheco lives between Le Mans and Arles. He graduated at École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles in 2012 as well as in Psychology of Art at Université Paris X. For some years now he dedicates to deeply scrutinizing human condition. By adapting his approaches and devices to the different problems he addresses, he tries to understand the processes of representation by means of photo portrait and to engage into observing human kind. Both his commitment and his proximity to the subjects he photographs or he asks a self portrait to, are also consequences of his own needs to test and question the others. George Pacheco has exhibited his work, among other locations, at the Galerie du Château d'Eau, Toulouse and Centro Português de Fotografia, in 2007, at the Festival May-Photographs of Quimper in 2008, Centre of Contemporary Art, Strasbourg Stimultania in 2009 and IMMIX Gallery, Paris, in 2011. His work was also shown within the context of Festival Voies Off, Arles 2008, Festival ImageSingulière, Sète 2009 and Journées Photographiques de Bienne 2012, as a finalist of Rado Star Prize. His series Amalthée was part of the international selection of Arles Festival Voies Off, 2012. One of its images is exposed at London National Portrait Gallery as a finalist of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, and in 2012 he was awarded the 2nd Prize of Photographies de l’Année, in the category of Portrait. He was attributed the Prix Voies Off at Arles in 2007 and in 2009 he was one of the 16 finalists of Prix de Photographie de l’Académie des Beaux Arts.
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