With Red Hook Sonata, the artist scrutinizes and questions the soul of Brooklyn, the district where he has been living since the end of his residency program at the Villa Medicis (Rome) in 2006. In this series, which has evolved over 3 years, Jérôme Lagarrigue, through his portrayal of inhabitants or simple bystanders, anonymous or known, delivers a metaphorical portrait of the city.
He often represents these people in very large formats, in a tight frame, stripped from their appearance, almost reduced to mere fragments of a face, where there only sometimes remains a trace of an expression. Expressions which lack self-awareness, which are oblivious to the act of being observed, that are absent of ego, and almost forget the artist’s presence.
These expressions represent the person in the present moment, without artifice, only absorbed in the flow of their inner thoughts. Jérôme Lagarrigue captures this most intimate part of a being, and renders visible the subtle whispering between the viewer and the model. This body of work, with its unique way of "framing" the subjects, invites to the narrative a suggestion that there is always much more that what the eyes perceive: This is the very moment where the imagination is invited to complete the picture.
A geology of the faces : here is Jérôme Lagarrigue’s central motive. In 2006, his exhibition at the Académie de France in Rome was already entitled Paesaggio del Viso (landscape of the face). From 2007, Galerie Olivier Waltman has followed him in the deployment of this pattern by devoting four personal exhibitions, Boxing, Portraits, Brooklintimate and Closer. Whether it is the face of a black or white person, a boxer or a fashion model, a self-portrait or an anonymous encounter in a cafe, everything that is visually presented escapes the limitations of identity, instead exploring themes of intimacy and universal humanity.