Nathalie Joffre





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Untitled 1 (2012).

Installation. Series of 6 photographs. 50 x 75 cm. C-print. A pair of yellow rubber gloves. Dimension variable.


Performative restaging around one portrait of Henry Hering's collection of patients photographs from Bethlem Royal Hospital Archive taken between 1857 and 1859. Vincent is playing Thomas William W. with a pair of yellow gloves.


In Untitled 1, I have asked the sitter to progressively play the character starting from a photograph and adding step by step more information about the character and a random object (here yellow gloves).
The specific character played here is called Thomas William W.. He was diagnosed with mania and accused of matricide when he was admitted to Bethlem Royal Hospital in 1858.
At the beginning the sitter does not know about these facts, he just looks at the pictures and try to re-enact the pose. At the end, he can play the character based on the information, the pictures, and his own interpretation.
This series of photographs questions our relationship with characters from the past and their photographic trace as well as our construction of the representation of what is "madness" in terms of gestures and behaviours.