Wynwood Walls As You’ve Never Seen Them Before, in Jean-François Rauzier’s Newest Hyperphotos

Karen Kedmey
Feb 2, 2015 12:00AM

Since the invention of photography in the early 19th century, the idea that the camera never lies has not quite held true. Contemporary French photographer Jean-François Rauzier has been exploiting photography’s half-truths for more than a decade. In his heavily manipulated “hyperphotos,” he presents pictures of the world at once impossible and entirely true to the way we see. His latest project represents one of Miami’s greatest artistic treasures, Wynwood Walls, just in time for the neighborhood’s annual art fair, Art Wynwood.

“I waited 25 years for digital technology so I could finally do what I always wanted,” says Rauzier. What he wanted was to break away from the point-and-shoot mold of traditional photography, which results in pictures strictly confined to the structure of the camera’s frame. Instead, he desired to create pictures more representative of how we actually see, using our eyes to scan our surroundings in their entirety. So, armed with a digital camera, he began visiting sites and cities worldwide and taking thousands upon thousands of individual photographs, capturing them from every possible angle and in all of their detail. Back in his studio and on his computer, he would stitch no less than 600 and as many as 5,000 of his photographs together into a single, grand composition, which he introduced in 2002 as a “hyperphoto.”

Waterhouse & Dodd is now bringing a selection of the artist’s newest hyperphotos to Art Wynwood 2015 with a booth given over entirely to these hypnotic, large-scale visual feasts. In homage to the fair’s host city—and specifically its Wynwood Walls graffiti and street art project, conceived of by the late developer and arts patron Tony Goldman, who makes an appearance in Wynwood Walls C (2015)—this new series features the Walls in all their tagged and marked-up glory. Like the Walls themselves, covered end-to-end with the work of numerous street artists, Rauzier’s hyperphotos pop. In keeping with what he once described as his “attempt to reveal every element of a place,” the artist has not necessarily stayed true to life in these works. Rather, he has created vivid pileups of the individual walls, which zigzag up and down and across the picture plane in densely packed rows and layers.

While Rauzier’s Wynwood Walls hyperphotos might make viewers feel transported to the site itself, what they are witnessing is, in fact, a clever confluence of reality and his imagination. For him, crafting these works is akin to re-composing the world according to his own vision. Or, as he once said: “It’s a kind of absolute power over the world.”

Karen Kedmey