Iseult Labote,The Industrial World and the Truth Claim of Pictures
Text by Vanessa Morisset, Art Critic and Philosopher at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2002


Iseult Labote’s industrial variations
Text by Fabien Franco, art historian, 2008


Iseult Labote : The disturbance power of photography
Françoise-Hélène Brou, art historian, 1999

Iseult Labote’s works perfectly depict the “ça a été” (“it has been”) phenomenon of Barthes, which was described by the semiologist himself as “the necessarily real thing which has been placed before the lens, without which there would be no photograph”. Iseult Labote seeks to freeze matters, structures, surfaces, in order to recompose a certain poetry resulting from an abandon or a decomposition. The artist does not intervene on her subjects: “All my photographs are framed without make-up, design, staging, I freeze the image as I see it”. The shooting made by the photographs is equivalent to the catch of a subject threatened by the tragic feeling of losing it. The fixation of this segment of life on the paper mirror becomes thus a gesture of symbolic appropriation of the world, a way of redefining the space and the time, an opening, an escape.
But beyond transposing mere fragments of natural reality, Iseult Labote’s photographs also express many metaphors relating to the material and physical life, as each setting, framing, shooting, development contributes to the creation of a new perceptual order which has nothing to do with an analogic copy of the reality. All these operations constitute a network of individual clues and signs capable of building an identity which may produce effects of meaning, both individually and collectively.
In fact, it is about a testimony and not merely about what “has been”, what has existed; it is rather a play of visual rhetoric in which the objects and their matter, shapes and colours, spatial positioning, and fortuitous cohabitation suggest an infinity of material, emotional of conceptual realities.
The objective of this play is to generate aesthetic pleasure by exhibiting these images to the public. An act of shared enjoyment in which the intimacy of the photographer opens up through the hieroglyph of the photographed subject, who acts thus as a genuine metaphor.
The rhetoric and metaphoric dimensions suggest interior and secrete spaces, being thus related to the imagination field. In this respect, Iseult Labote proposes a subtle to-and-from movement between the objective and subjective reality of her subjects; her shootings reveal as many imaginary resonances and testimonies of the world captured by her lens. These elements mingle to trouble best our senses when exploring the space of her photographs, so that they may be seen as pure testimonies or symbolic constructions.