French artist Denis Darzacq has become known worldwide for his photos, which typically incorporate a jumping, twisting, or otherwise active single human set against a busy background. When we caught sight of his Hyper 2007-2009 series on display at the Laurence Miller Gallery in the past (as part of Art Miami) we knew he was finally ready for Short Order fame. (Why? Because, uh, many of the photos were taken in supermarkets. Voila! Relevance.) We caught up with him while he was at Dan and Kathryn Mikesell's Fountainhead Residency in Morningside.
New Times: Why is the collection entitled "Hyper"?
Denis Darzacq: "Hyper" means too much product, too much. There's some emergency that there's need for 500 shampoos behind a woman? You know, is it necessary? All my stories are to find the balance in a real situation. People doing unexpected movement. It's a metaphoric way to find balance in society. We have to find a balance between "having" and "being." There are difficulties being a human being in a materialistic world.
Frozen in the frozen food section.
Photo by Denis Darzacq
Why did you choose markets for the backdrop?
Supermarkets are things we share all over the world, from China to the U.S.A., something we share more than church, religion. This book focuses on globalization, how the world is getting smaller every minute. We need to buy so many goods, it has really become the center of our lives. So many lines and colors. Too much color, too much product, too much money.
Why did you think to show people jumping in the aisles?
It's a way to find try to find our way in this world. The movement is fake, but it's "over-fake." Fake movement is also liberty. When you do something not allowed, not authorized, not appropriate, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Every inch means something. They kind of throw themselves in a glorious way.
Did you really get people inside these stores or did you superimpose them?
They're real images. Not Photoshopped. The purpose of photography is sharing a moment together. [Watch this documentary to see how Darzacq makes it happen.]
Who are your subjects?
Mostly they're from poor areas. Best way to express yourself is with your body when you are young. I use someone who knows a little sport, a little street dance. I do casting from dance companies, hip-hop companies, street dancers...
Do you have a favorite from the supermarket series?
Photo by Riki Altman
This one on the [book] cover. It looks like Jesus on the cross. It's got a melancholic meaning, this image. It shows the height of movement after you go up but just before you go down.
Who buys your pieces? Did any supermarkets want to own them for display?
I only sell to collectors and museums. That's it.
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No restaurants or hotels?
I would never exhibit in a restaurant. I don't want to make decoration. I want to make art. It's not entertainment, you know what I mean?