Presentation

Beginning with his earliest photographic attempts, Gustave Roud regularly took portraits of himself. The poet—who was questioning the inconstancy of his own persona—placed himself willingly into highly orchestrated scenes: he surrounded himself with fetish or familiar objects that could anchor him in a reality vis-à-vis to which he felt disconnected. Other self-portraits play with reflections or mirrors, insisting through this upon the moving, uncertain, and sometimes completely unreal character of the image of the self. Later, Roud created self-portraits in the company of farmer friends, in particular with Olivier Cherpillod, beside whom he appeared in photos: an explicit staging of the desire to acquire a layer, mediated via a kind of vampirization of an earth-bound figure. Symbolic of this identity in flux, numerous hollow self-portraits in which Roud focuses on his shadow at the moment he takes the photo of one of his models: in this way he simultaneously expressed the power of his gaze and the lability of his physical presence.