Over the past twenty years, Charles Fréger has built up a vast collection of portraits, first by focusing on outfits and uniforms, then by exploring masked traditions on every continent. His photographs confront us with secular figures, beings with multiple and ambiguous identities on which our imagination is projected. Four series are brought together in this vast exhibition : “Commedia dell’Arte”, produced in Venice and showing the body play of his masked characters ; “Yokainoshima”, in which the photographer explores the ritual figures of Japan ; “Wilder Mann”, a photographic campaign carried out over many years in 20 European countries ; and “Cimarron”, which takes the photographer to Afro-descendant America, from the southern United States to Peru. Embodying strange, comical, sometimes frightening or extravagant animals or creatures, the figures Fréger photographs give a measure of the variety of customs and cultures around the world. By paying attention to the finery and the solemnity of the pose, the artist leaves us alone in front of these masked figures. It is then up to us to imagine the story of each of the characters.
Charles Fréger (France, 1975) lives and works in Rouen. He studied at the Rouen School of Fine Arts. Since the beginning of the 2000s, he has been pursuing an inventory entitled Portraits photographiques et uniformes, carrying out his series in many countries around the world. In his portraits, the characters wear masks, make-up, costumes, ornaments and accessories to tell the story of their culture, their community and their heritage. Fréger has exhibited in various museums and festivals, and has published numerous books, including Cimarron (2019), Yokainoshima (2016), Bretonnes (2015) and Wilder Mann (2012). He is a founding member of the European and American photographers’ network, Piece of Cake.