For photographer and master photo-manipulator Jean-François Rauzier, cities and portraits offer more than just their surface appearance. In a new show at Waterhouse and Dodd in New York, Rauzier’s photographic range is exemplified through recently debuted Renaissance portrait paintings-as-photos, embellished with digital code; and twisted, surrealist cityscapes, which the artist develops from myriad photographs of well-known city skylines.
Rauzier is best known for his invented “hyperphotos,” large-scale compositions made up of anywhere from 600 to 3,500 individual photographs that are cut and pasted to the artist’s desire. Some works like Lower East Side Veduta feature recognizable architecture—in this case, from Manhattan—although perspectives have been altered: the buildings are layered and collaged in rows that are built on top of each other, making a vast expanse of the city visible from a single, street-level vantage point. The end result is a fanciful metropolis, one that only slightly resembles New York, but plays on the bustling, vibrant nature of city life at large. “My hyperphotos strive to capture the panorama and the macro view all at once, to stop time and to have the possibility of viewing all the details of a static image,” says Rauzier.
In addition to his signature works, Rauzier presents a new series grounded in Renaissance portrait paintings, which have been reproduced on transparencies. Each is inscribed with digital code that is illuminated with a light box; this network of numbers and letters is etched into iconic faces like Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, thus physically aligning the future of art with its rich past. “What makes Rauzier unique is his mastery of technology combined with a true artistic vision,” the gallery explains. “His work is also informed by a deep knowledge of literature, art history and history, and he deploys all of these alongside his considerable wit and humor.”
“Jean-François Rauzier: New Hyperphotos & Portraits” is on view at Waterhouse & Dodd, New York, May 28th–June 28th, 2014.