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Influenced as much by late 19th century «Pompier» art movement as by the 90s and 2000s R’n’B album covers, Elisabeth Gomes Barradas creates photographic montages and portraits of unknown people and microcelebrities spotted on social networks. Assuming both the role of photographer, casting manager and stylist, Elisabeth Gomes Barradas approaches her subjects as stars in their own right and invests all the seductive potential of the image, the accessory and the staging.
Playing with the codes of fashion photography, tabloids and the great portraits of classical painting, each photographic series captures the wavering confidence of people embodying their style and attitude, a trend or fashion seen in the street, on television or online, from the 90s to nowadays. Between anthropology, art and popular history, the work of Elisabeth Gomes Barradas aims to identify and appropriates the symbols and codes of subcultures in order to celebrate the inventiveness and aesthetic innovation stemming from pop culture and street.
With a multidisciplinary approach, the artist examines the issues of gender, masculinity and race in popular culture, but also the links that unite art, music and fashion. Each project photographed gives rise to iconographic research and curations of objects and accessories aimed to recreate, through the portrait, an universe and a particular atmosphere. A way for Elisabeth Gomes Barradas to rework some of the most fundamental principles of art history, such as the figure/ground or artist/model relationships.
If the use of analog camera and the choice of her subjects tries testify a nostalgic fascination for the past and «vintage» aesthetics, the practice of Elisabeth Gomes Barradas is as much an act of memory as a way of formulating a decommercializing language of commercial images, between sincere love and parody.
Text written by the art critic Julie Ackermann, at the invitation of «Documents d’Artistes Bretagne» for BASE, January 7, 2022.
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