Charles Fréger "Caretos, Lazarim, Portugal" 2010-2011
The Wild Man, or some version thereof, is a mythic creature who turns up in pagan stories and celebrations throughout the world. Part human, part beast, he is often shown with horns or covered with fur, and European men traditionally dress up as him during various old world festivals. Charles Fréger decided to document these Wild Man occurrances with his camera, initially planning on covering 12 countries, but ending up with 18. His show, "Wilder Mann" is up now at Yossi Milo Gallery through May 18th:
April 11–May 18, 2013
Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present Wilder Mann, an exhibition of color photographs by Charles Fréger in the West Gallery. The exhibition will open on Thursday, April 11 and will be on view through Saturday, May 18. An artist's reception and book signing of his monograph, Wilder Mann, published by Dewi Lewis Publishing, will be held on Thursday, April 11 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. In the East Gallery, Tim Hetherington's exhibition Inner Light will be on view during this time. Wilder Mann will be Fréger's first exhibition with the gallery. Additional images from this series will be exhibited concurrently at the Gallery at Hermès in New York from April 12 - June 8.
Between 2010 and 2011, Fréger traveled to eighteen European countries, from Italy to Poland, Scotland to the Czech Republic, in search of the Wild Man. A centuries-old, legendary figure, the Wild Man continues to be an important symbol of transition associated with festivals that mark the cyclical patterns of life: the changing of the seasons, special religious holidays, rites of passage, life and death. In full-length portraits, the artist photographs celebrants enveloped in traditional costumes crafted from layers of animal skins, local plants, bones and antlers, which visually transform the masqueraders into a wooly bear, a long-horned goat, a demon or man of straw. Fréger photographs these imaginative creatures in their native landscape and explores human fascination with myth, ritual and tradition.
The Wilder Mann series is an anthropological exploration which brings into focus cultures still tied to traditions, the land they inhabit and the cyclical rhythms of life. The series also contemplates man's complex relationship with nature and how vestiges of these costumes and past rituals continue to influence contemporary life, even in the digital age.
Charles Fréger's work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at Musée d'Art Moderne, Luxembourg; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen; Yokohama Museum of Art; Fotohof, Salzburg; and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, among others. The artist was born in 1975 and studied at the Rouen Art School, France. He lives and works in Rouen, France.
This is very much in the same vein as Katarzyna Majak's "Women of Power" show of her photographs of Polish witches, and Sara Hannant's "Mummers, Maypoles, and Milkmaids" show of her photographs of English pagan rituals. It's wonderful to see these traditions be looked at through a contemporary, artful lens.
(A big thank you to Chris Sedgwick for letting me know about this.)