From flight to gymnastics to the circus to space travel, no matter how much gravity holds us all together the human mind is always enthralled with new ways to make it seem as if we break free from the Earth’s hold. There’s something fascinating about seeing humans suspended in space, and in “Hyper”, the latest series from Paris-based photographer Denis Darzacq (who also did similar work in his serene, monotone series “La Chute”) we see a beautiful mix of gravity defiance and the cool, clean lines of modern spaces.
To me, “Hyper” is like a collision between the work of two of my favourite photographers: there is the similar visual play of seeing the human body in mid-air, like in Lilly McElroy’s “I Throw Myself At Men”, but now it’s taking place inside the sort of ubiquitous, flourescent-filled, brain-dead, colossal chain-store that Brian Ulrich investigated so tellingly in his series “Copia”.
What really interests me about this is that even though it must have taken a lot of physical exertion to jump in the air, these photos completely belie any supposed effort. Everyone appears as if they’re slowly levitating, and sometimes it’s as if they’re so relaxed that as they float up the very weight of their limbs is what contorts their bodies, not the effort of the jump
Their location makes me not just interested in the fact that they’re floating, but why they’re floating. To me, it’s as if each of them has suddenly just had too much of daily life: like the overwhelmingly mundane task of buying another carton of milk is the the last straw and so their spirit has literally freed their bodies from the Earth. That our physical reactions to having too much consumerism thrust upon us might just be for our bodies to involuntarily rise into the air… sometimes with rage, and other times limp like our souls have been drained out of our skins.
Even though it looks like these works are digitally manipulated, his sites say they aren’t. He used dancers and athletes to pose for the series inside a local grocery store. Obviously it would take someone totally in tune with their body to bring that kind of airborne relaxation to life, but I wonder what happened when they hit the floor? Sometimes, art is pain.
There’s also a short documentary on Darzacq that gives us a total look into his process and interviews with his models on what it’s like being shot by Darzacq. Lucky breakers…