Posted at 8:15am
The piercing gaze of Greta Thunberg, the raised fist of Jane Fonda in front of the Capitol in Washington, a damaged house in Gaspésie, a man in Chicago working in a delicate position on his family jewels (photo captioned human weakness), Carey Price in the solitude of his helmet on the ice of Bell Center…
Visit My America, the new photo exhibition by Jean-René Dufort at the Center d’art Diane-Dufresne in Repentigny, there is a small contrast between the humor of the texts and the mostly very serious subjects of the photos that accompany them. The editorial spirit ofinfoman is never far from the guy, and Jean-René Dufort tells me that his passion for photography, which was his first job as a student before becoming a hobby, helps him a lot in testing the waters for his TV reports. “It’s always helped me with everything,” he says. When I go infoman Somewhere I always try to take a few hours to take photos because I find that the viewer comes before the clown. If I haven’t “rated” the place and how the people are, that’s it hard to then know how far I can go. »
My America was developed to complement the excellent exhibition The dashing cowboys already underway at the Center d’art Diane-Dufresne – it’s worth treating yourself to this 2-in-1 visit. Jean-René Dufort thinks that the group that gave us America is crying is very North American because it shares its cultural codes. He loves Elvis Gratton’s famous tirade about the problematic identity of Quebecers, those “Canadian-Americans-Quebecians-Francophones-of North America” etc.
“This pieceElvis Gratton always made me laugh. Of all these identities, the only identity we are sure of is that we are North Americans. Everyone agrees on that. Thought it would be an interesting base to dig in the photo booth. »
Jean-René Dufort has selected around forty photos from at least two decades to decorate the walls of the art center. They’re all in black and white, which he admits is his “religion” as a photographer. “I don’t know why, I think black and white gives the photos distinction. If you’re posing for a color portrait, that’s fine, but in black and white you suddenly look like a great theater actor! »
The dramatic effect is undeniable, that’s true. “Also the “milk” it’s going to be nice,” he notes.
I think there is a beautiful senility in America. It’s a little side of the Wild West, with abandoned houses and things lying around. I was in Alberta recently, and there’s a town where they made a giant sausage that was 42 feet tall. But why ? We only do that in America. No one in Europe would think of making a sausage 42 feet tall…
Jean Rene Dufort
How has he seen the development of this America since he travels and looks everywhere through his photographer’s eye? “I really like Claude Poirier’s phrase: it goes as it goes. I think America goes the way it goes. So much is crooked, so much is wonderful. At the same time, and this is the paradox, what I find most photogenic about a big city are its slums, its graffiti, its roving people. It touches my side infoman, in the sense that the worse things get, the more there’s a side of me that’s happy, the one that’s making the show, but on the other side, the citizen that I am is unhappy. »
Does America have something to cry like in the Cowboys Fringants song? “Yes, but that’s it strange with America: as much as it depresses us, it makes us laugh and fascinates us. They are rendered with a pistol per square foot in the United States, but we still dream of going to New York or Chicago, and we still find it to be Cold, Las Vegas. »
In addition to this beautiful exhibition, the animator-photographer will shoot the fourth season of ‘Emission’ in a location that Jean-René Dufort praises – he believes every city in Quebec should have art centers like this The big lab, so he won’t be taking many vacations. And unlike many citizens, because he is after all an infoman, he is really looking forward to the upcoming elections in the fall. “We never tire of holding elections,” he says with a sincere smile. There are always shops, and when you think there’s nothing left, that’s where most of it is. We tell ourselves that politicians will have learned that they no longer take videos on the river with their iPhone when it’s windy, but they do it anyway. It’s bottomless happiness. In the office, we have high hopes for Eric Duhaime’s candidate group. »
It might be the subject of a future exhibition, who knows. At least if Infoman gives the photographer enough space.
exhibitions My America by Jean-Rene Dufort and The dashing cowboys will be presented at the Center d’art Diane-Dufresne (11, allée de la Création, Repentigny) until October 2nd.