Photo by Francesca Tamse
Mazaccio & Drowilal (Elise Mazac and Robert Drowilal) are a young Paris-based duo who met at a party and soon realized they had virtually the same cultural references and twin filters for sizing them up. Both were academically raised on conceptual art (they cite Duchamp, Robert Barry, Joseph Kosuth, William Wegman and Sol LeWitt in particular) and cinema (passionate about Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, David Cronenberg, Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino — “the idea of the ironic remake”). And they shared an irreverent sense of humor that permeates their work and, clearly, most of their time gazing at the man-made world together.
Using manipulated photography (both original and mined from the Web) as one of several tools, they mostly focus on the blurry line between the authentic and the artificial. And for them, high and low are liquid. “We don’t believe in a hierarchy of images, we’re simply interested in images that are widely seen, in magazines, in movies & TV, in advertising…so for us there isn’t on one side high art in museums and low art in pop culture. We want to mix them and use them with equal weight.” And so they grab anything that serves their purpose, but are clear on where that permission was granted. “Rather than Pop Art, we’re closer to the Pictures Generation — Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine — they made it okay for appropriation to be used in its own right.”
Working together since 2009, Mazaccio & Drowilal have created various series of photobooks (“We love the object-ness of books”) that may be viewed as bearing the sensibility of a “post-post-modernism” generation that has grown up in the shadow of 9/11, and fully absorbed the expressive potential of Photoshop, DIY tech, and the Web’s immense image reservoir. As winners of the 2013 BMW Residence (in conjunction with the Maison Nicéphore Niépce), they devised an exhibition and book titled Wild Style — a gleeful medley of images that deride our species’ trivializing of the natural world in our representation of animals. The works will be exhibited at Rencontres d’Arles this month, and again at Paris Photo in November.
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