Alexis Robardet, "Self-portrait, Saint-Savournin", 2020; "Lucas, Paris", 2019; "I like your brother, Marseille", 2021; "François Sagat, Paris", 2019; "Fanny, Marseille", 2021; "Le Voile, Paris", 2020.
Q: Thesis: in the current way of living, the artist is indirectly asked in a way to also assume to have a digital, 2D identity. My work, for example, shows a lot of bare skin. But social media finds that against the guidelines; a lot of skin in an image would be considered explicit or sexual.
I wonder how I can exist digitally as an artist if this guideline generalizes the way of looking at unclothed bodies. Not everyone looks at bodies in a sexually objectified way. How do you feel about this digital trend?
A: This digital trend and these rules are, for me, really complicated and really annoying to work with. I do portraits with naked bodies as well, I try to share my work on social media, but a certain puritanism is growing in this ‘most important’ social media. For me, cropping or showing only a piece of a picture is kind of hypocritical. It is a way to censor myself and my art, but there is nothing we can do with it because the power of SM is so huge... this is the reason why I focus more on my website now. I use my social media content as a "teaser" to make the people go and see my entire work on the website. It's important for me to keep my work, even with body, skin etc on the internet because I want to continue to show that there is a difference between porn and art.
Q: What would be the ideal scenario to create a truly embodied portrait?
A: It would be ... taking a picture of a person I know crying. Truly crying... a cry you can’t control. That you are not ashamed by, that you can be... in a way proud of. I did a really sensitive portrait of two friends after one of them cried. They are cuddling them, and you can see the tired and wet eyes of my friend. It's this kind of moment that is a real embodied portrait for me. You can't be someone else when you truly cry. Or smile.
Q: Can you describe your physical working method? Do you work standing, sitting, walking, ...? How does your working method help determine the image?
A: Depending on the picture, I am most of the time sitting or standing. It's not really about my physical method but about my angles. I can lay down on the floor to have a perfect angle of a guy looking at me from above and it will make him powerful...
Most of the time I like to be at the same level as the guy or the subject I am taking the picture of. I like classical esthetics; I think we can see this in most of my work.
Q: What can a portrait do?
A: A portrait can show at least an identity, something formal, boring. But it can show a moment and the emotion that a person portrayed in a specific time. The most impressive portrait can show the sensibility of the person, the emotion, the soul. Not only the soul and the sensibility of the person, but the one of the artist through the image of the model.
Q: Do you agree if I say that by making a self-portrait you heal yourself?