Géraldine Jeanjean (1978) graduated from the Fotoacademie in Amsterdam in 2002. Because of her French and Dutch cultural heritage, Jeanjean often experienced that it is difficult to express something exactly the same in a different language. Therefore she strives towards an universal language as an accessible and connecting means within her artistic practice, accordingly a visual language is her solution. In her work Jeanjean explores how interpretations change and new meanings are created through depicting and presenting subjects in new ways. The use of photography as her main medium is interesting hence its seemingly objective registration of reality.
Over the past years Jeanjean exhibited in several group shows among the Nederlands Fotomuseum (2008) and the Haags Gemeentemuseum (2014), at the Kunsthalle in München (Germany) and the Fotomuseum in Antwerpen (Belgium). Her previous book Aumont, published by Fw:books, was granted as Best Verzorgde Boeken in 2009 and was exhibited in Sint Petersburg (Russia) and at Paris Photo (France). Jeanjean’s exhibition abc at Seelevel Gallery was reviewed by Het Parool and NRC.
In abc, Jeanjean explores the differences between the physical and the emotional experience of reality. During the past four years, Jeanjean tried to arrange her thoughts on the unconstrained observations and creative abilities of her children, the blurring memory of her grandmother and her own search to the construction of reality.
Abc is set against the backdrop of the small community of Aumont, which is her grandmother’s hometown located in the most sparsely populated region of France. Since Jeanjean’s project Aumont (2009), the town is a permanent part of her artistic practice and functions as décor set. In abc, Jeanjean is fascinated by the natural and unconditional view of the child, which invites her to look at things in a different way. In the series, this view is expressed through the photographs she made of the fantastical constructions made by her own children. In abc, Jeanjean depicts her grandmother unrecognizable; a physical strong body in a flower dress embodies the unrest, uncertainty and the search for some grip on life. By juxtaposing the images of her children’s creations with the portrait of her own grandmother and with the photographs of the abandoned townscapes of Aumont, Jeanjean tries to create new insights and interpretations on the subjects depicted.
The three subjects photographed are connected by each other through a fourth series of photographs capturing corn dolls which Jeanjean saw in and around Aumont. The dolls originate from folklore traditions. From the last harvest of corn, human figures are created as sacrifices in order to secure the continuity of life. For Jeanjean, the corn dolls connect the unconstrained child’s view, tradition, mania and the role of Aumont as décor set.
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