To Dream, to Collect

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Florence Obrecht

1976 Metz, France

1 Works exhibited

Current location

Berlin, Germany

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  • About the Artist

In the end, everything is up to you. It is a sun in the belly with a thousand rays. The rest is nothing.
Picasso (1932) - Metamorphosis and Unity (Ed. Skira, 1971)

It all begins with a phrase uttered by his 7 year old daughter. She comes home from school and says that she was taught to make Picassos. At school or for oneself, at any age, many of us have tried to imitate Picasso's works, a cubist face, assemblies of colors, a marked line, singular characters. The Spanish artist has become an essential reference in the Western collective imagination. Making Picassos. The formula resonates in the mind of Florence Obrecht, who, in turn, decides to make Picassos. "At the beginning, the project was born from a sense of wonder rather than from a desire to desacralize Picasso at all costs. The artist does not do as Picasso, she does not imitate his work, rather she chooses to be inspired by portraits to adapt them, transform them and give them a new reading. Picasso's works have become a material to play at making Picassos. To do this, she invites her friends to the studio. She asked them to choose a work of Picasso, a portrait with which they would like to identify. A make-up session follows. The colors are first applied directly to their faces. Florence Obrecht photographs the model and then paints with oil on wood.

For several years now, Florence Obrecht has been painting almost exclusively women. "I find alter egos, an infinite number of other selves. Also, I project myself more easily in the characters they play during the time of a photo. Each one invests in her own way in the session: make-up, costumes, poses, sets. The final pose and the way of appearing are the result of discussions, choices and projections. The artist does not impose anything on them, on the contrary she likes everything that the person can bring to the situation. We then witness the reversal of an authoritarian history and stereotypes. The story of a supposedly traditional relationship between the artist genius and his model. Florence Obrecht makes the choice of collaboration, everything is done in conversation. With the women who wish to participate in this reflection, they revisit together the work of an artist, certainly genius, but also imposing and authoritarian.

The series Faire des Picasso can be seen as another stone in the collective construction of new representations. Here, there is no question of assignments, no submission to a look, no passivity in the pose or the look, no constraint, no oppression. "I don't know to what extent I am not thumbing my nose at this artist whom I admire enormously (along with Bacon, Bourgeois and Kelley for the 20th century). The series looks like a big joke that I took very seriously." It is in a spirit of freedom, playfulness and sisterhood that the artist and models craft new incarnations of Picasso's paintings. They intrude on an art history that has for too long dismissed not only women artists, but also powerful and plural representations of invisibilized bodies.

Works by Florence Obrecht

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