CAR JE EST UN AUTRE
The ritual of Claire and Solange, Genet’s Maids, takes place each night in a small, stuffy room that is their stage. The two sisters, who love and hate their mistress, play Madame when she is away. They take turns dressing in her clothes, imitating and mimicking her. They pretend to be a part of her vie en rose, and at the end of each daily ritual, they attempt to kill her but fail. lllusion and reality, truth and fantasy, true and false overlap and blend in a cruel game taken to the extreme.
Car je est an autre, Rimbaud would say. Each person is what she is, but above all, what she can and would like to be: a peasant or a grand dame, a lady or a servant. Each invents her own transformations. Claire and Solange always switch roles: they transform themselves and briefly live a life denied them, where life is theater and theater is life. Dualism, transformation, change, multiplication, excess, and derailment of the final destination of an object are at basis of this work. Two paths are followed, inspired by Madame, Claire, and Solange.
On one hand, the elegance and figure of the femme fatale Madame – the seductive idol with dazzling beauty and allure, adored and destroyed – are exasperated and emphasized. Fine fabrics, brilliant colors ranging from emerald green to magenta, white, ecru and black, and exquisite details evoke and emphasize a world that is often denied but lives on in one’s imagination.
On the other hand, a rejected frock that wants to escape its destiny is bedazzled, dressed in colors and covered with contrasts of light, sophisticated asymmetric details, unusual combinations of fabrics, original appliqués, intarsia and ornaments to claim its right to exist and to live and dream. The humble garment is embellished, embroidered, and enhanced.
Unusual shapes and decorations transform it into something else: a dress, skirt, jacket, or trousers. The Maids sneak up to their mistress’s wardrobe. Rummaging through it with curiosity and awe, they blend, restyle, cut, sew, embroider, and apply details of elegant party dresses on their simple frocks.
The poor, modest, plain work uniform vibrantly comes to life and expresses new energy, revealing unexpected elegance, bursting with myriad colors and shapes that create another image and life that was denied until now. lt is a new, sumptuous,
magnificent, dazzling evening gown: Madame’s dress that we can all be, for an entire lifetime or for just a game.
…it’s my turn to be MADAME!
Special thanks to Alexis Giannotti Photographer