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An icon is an image, an object of contemplation, an unequaled model. It is the archetype, the primitive and ideal near perfection model according to the ideas of Plato. It is the universal symbol of collective unconsciousness for the philosopher Jung. May it be secular or religious, an icon is as obsessive as it is fascinating. As with these movie icons, omnipresent in our contemporary societies.

Movie stars are admired and desired, they are rich and powerful, they make us dream yet remain inaccessible. They mostly live as recluses, victims of their fame, and evolve in an enclosed world that makes them vulnerable or even destroys them.
Their daily virtual presence is an illusion that charms and haunts us, while at the same time keeping us estranged from the real world. Yesterday as today, the pleasing and idealized image of the stars, shaped by the unequalled genius of Hollywood, continues to captivate us.

Among the many stars that punctuate the history of cinema, my attention was drawn to those who convey a particular emotion, both because of their beauty and because of their presence in the world. The ones that I consider as being icons are creatures of a rare beauty and elegance, they are beings whose life style is synonymous with commitment and struggle: Jane Fonda, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot. Beings for whom the words emancipation, liberation, rebellion have a particular resonance both in their lives and in their films. Beings who are fighting to make changes within society yet who remain fragile and vulnerable. And whose destiny is at times tragic: Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Romy Schneider…

With the series Icons, I wanted to continue exploring the film world while using photography. This series of portraits, in colour, of the movie industry’s biggest female and male stars, was produced from films projected on a screen. Each photograph is a pictorial re-interpretation of a scene in which a star evolves, a star whose gaze, expression and gestures touched me. The chromatic sfumato that composes these portraits makes these beings even more mysterious and timeless. Their faces - often famous and which we could contemplate endlessly - remain an enigma which I leave to each one of you to decipher. This is what makes myths, legends and icons.

François Fontaine

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