As part of the celebrations for the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles’ 30th anniversary, I decided to work on the concept of celebration and commemoration. As a starting point, I used a plaque that celebrates the foundation of the school. In this copper plaque, a photographic image represents the moment when François Mitterrand, in those days president of the republic, cuts the ribbon and thus officially opens the school. Although this image comes from the past in order to remember the “history”, by its presence in the daily life, it simply becomes invisible.

My project consists of replacing the original commemorative plaque by another one, similar in appearance, but with a modification in the image. In my version of the plaque, all the characters that appear in the photography have the eyes closed.

During thirty days, the false plaque remained in the place of the original without any person noticing it in the school.

My gesture proposes a deflection of the ready-made (objet trouvé), as well as the loss of an image in the plot of everyday life. In this way, I intended to reconsider the school from its moment of genesis and, concretely, within a context of institutional retrospective, to ask about the power of persuasion, the validity and the sense of a commemoration symbol. Reproduction of the plaque and the existence of multiple versions profane the collective memory and make the aura around the single object disappear.

Photographic emulsion and screen-printing on a copper plaque. 43 x 43 x 4 cm.