Edition 2012

Jean-Louis Tornato

Since 1996, Jean-Louis Tornato has been developing his work around sleep using a camera with an automatic timer, infrared film and a flash. These allow light, which is invisible to the naked eye, to pass, and images to there- fore be captured on opaque film while the subject’s sleep is undisturbed. The thirty-six images obtained, a summary of the different emotional states of the sleeping subjects and of cycles during a whole night, are then visible either separately or in the form of contact prints in small sequential groups or synthesised into an image. They capture, from deep within a world concealed from all of us, photographs of sleeping people, gracious or recumbent, engulfed by sheets or floating like the ghostly doubles of their social beings. Recently, some of these photographs have been associated with two other series, Limbes (Limbo) and In Between, the fruit of Tornato’s many trips to Japan. Hugely influenced by the monist thinking that permeates the collective unconscious of this country, Tornato mixes two traditions that, at first sight, seem poles apart: Eastern cosmology made up of connections and of a substantial relationship between all things of this world—breath, mind and matter—and the cosmology of the West, turned to a more conflicted vision of the life space, a political and temporal perception of regions in crisis. Through the metaphor of limbo, that mythical and dreaded place where the souls of the righteous go to wander for eternity (the eternity of martyrs and unbaptised babies), the series of waves photographed in sites of shipwrecks or wars (Hiroshima, Arromanches, the beaches devastated by the Erika and the Amoco Cadiz capsizing, etc.) insists on the threat that weighs on our planet, while also exploring history made up of dramas on the sea, the vast binder of our tragedies, an ageless palimpsest and a symbol of a collective repressed unconscious. The photographs of strange places consisting of waves and smoke (In Between), which Tornato juxtaposes with mysterious faces of dozing beings, try to reproduce the unique perceptions and troubles (falling and weightlessness, dislocation of being) that take hold of us during the various phases of sleep.

Prints by Picto, Paris.
Framing by L’Image Collée, Montreuil-sous-Bois, France.
Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers.
Prints by Picto, Paris.
Framing by L’Image Collée, Montreuil-sous-Bois, France.
Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture