Agnés Geoffray

13 fragments (2014)

Agnés Geoffray’s 13 fragments is a photo installation composed of thirteen slides representing details of a larger image, and one print of the larger image displayed separately.

The original image is a scene dating to the period of French Liberation after World War II whose source and author are unknown: it depicts a woman, stripped naked and being paraded in the street by a crowd of men.  

Agnés Geoffray chooses to reappropriate an image of a shared history that she purchased online, and by means of cropping and reframing, she refocuses the viewers´ attention on small details: the facial expression of certain people in the crowd, the gesture of hands, a tie, a group of American soldiers observing impassible the scene from further away.

These small details are implicit or explicit indicators of the various types of violence the image contains: the violence of the state against its citizens, the violence of men against women, military violence. The smiles in the crowd are those of the people laughing in excitement as the woman publicly humiliated while paraded in the street as a punishment; the hands are pointing, or forcibly grabbing wrists and arms to refrain the victim from escape.

The intention behind the intervention of Agnés Geoffray is to show the ambivalence of violence: fragmenting the horror is an attempt to make it less powerful, to soften the violence of history, while revealing the signs of it.

Refocusing the gaze of the viewer is a strategy that makes history alive in the present and brings forward the dismissed story of the cruel punishments women deemed to be collaborators of the regime were subject to.

The work is ultimately an attemp to offer a symbolic reparation towards the women that were victims of such injustice.

Photo credit: Agnés Geoffray 

︎ See this work on the artist´s website