Denis Darzacq (France)

Act (2009-2011) is the result of Darzacq’s long work with handicapped persons. Though some of the subjects are also actors, athletes and dancers, each has asserted their individuality far beyond the assigned label of handicapped person. Denis Darzacq is well aware of the difference handicaps create. But this difference is also expressed in the assertion of a highly sensitive mental world. The acting is enhanced by the subjects’ spontaneity and eccentricity as they interact with their surroundings, resulting in a strongly dream-like element.

Born in 1961, Denis Darzacq lives and works in Paris. Graduated from the National School of Decorative Arts in 1986 (ENSAD). He began his career of photography following the French rock scene and then became a stills photographer on numerous feature films. From 1989, he regularly collaborates with the newspaper Libération and more generally with the national press. In 1997, He became a member of agency VU.

Denis Darzacq has developed personal work since the mid-1990’s. Like many others he worked in press photography which forged his artistic work and sharpened his eye for contemporary society. However he has broken with reporting and coverage-as-testimony in favour of a more analytical approach which has led to formally cohesive series.

Above all, Denis Darzacq has become convinced that planned images paradoxically serve to reflect society with greater acuity. Since 2003 he has turned to staging which involves the principle of disruption. Nude men and women walk through suburban settings; others seem suspended in urban settings or among supermarket shelves. Handicapped persons repossess public space.

The body comes across as the common denominator in Denis Darzacq’s work. The body is the tool used to critique the problems and barriers inflicted on different groups of people, in particular disaffected youth from the outskirts of life, and, like in Act, populations on the fringe of society. Denis Darzacq puts his finger on the social contradictions and restrictions. He also beckons the viewer to affirm ever-more complex identity than what meets the eye, and to assume a form of freedom where freedom seems to have vanished.