Jonas Unger → Autoportraits

April 24th - May 21st, 2014

Galerie Derouillon, Haut Marais

Galerie Derouillon is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition devoted to German artist Jonas Unger - Self-Portraits, to be held from April 24 to May 21, 2014.

Jonas Unger was born in 1975 in Cuxhaven, Germany. He lives and works between Paris and Berlin.

His work has been exhibited in Berlin and shown in museums such as the Fotografie Winterthur Museum in Switzerland (2012) and the Museum Deichtor Hallen (Internationale Kunst Und Fotografie) in Hamburg. His awards include the Lead Award and the Hansel Mieth Prize (2013).

For his first Paris exhibition at Galerie Derouillon, German photographer Jonas Unger presents a series of celebrity selfies with enigmatic statuses. The artist questions what connects us to these personalities, the very ones who so often disappear behind the mask of their media coverage. Vulnerable and sensitive, the stars "encapsulated" by Jonas Unger appear before our eyes in all their singularity, once they've come down from the pedestal of tabloid images.

Converting a writer into an embodiment of the intellect, metamorphosing an actress into a sex symbol: this is the work of the image turned spectacle, structuring a relationship to the world that is devoid of all human truth. As he detects the illusion of these ubiquitous mirages, Jonas Unger invites us to leave the Platonic cave of deceptive shadows and reconnect with the reality that animates these fellow creatures of our world. At each meeting, once the right moment has arrived, the artist hands the camera to each of these celebrities, asking them to photograph themselves blind, without decorum or special instruction. In this way, we discover the faces of these stars in the intimate relationship they suddenly form, in the time of a click, with the machine that so often transforms them into images - in other words, into icons of the present time.

The result is the trace of a moment of truth, the unveiling of an authentic expression, emancipated from any scenic hold of the photographic act. None of Jonas Unger's photographs is like any other, so unique is the uniqueness of what happens each time, through a gesture as banal as it is ineffable. In some, we recognize the residue of an art of posing, while others miss - the image is cut off - or prefer to lower their eyes. One grimaces happily, the other offers us the vulnerability of a somewhat bemused smile. The image, freed from all artifice, submits to the visitor's gaze the sincerity of a form of awkwardness necessary to reveal the maximum proximity between them and us.

It's then that a relationship becomes possible. Through the prism of a simple game with Narcissus and a logic of withdrawal, Jonas Unger gives these men and women the humanity that endears them to us. Filled with individual singularities, this revealed humanity opens the way to the reinvention of our common world, detached from the pagan cult of contemporary icons.

Laure Jaumouillé