Arnaud Maggs

Arnaud Maggs uses a multiple-grid technique with serial photographs of faces and miscellany to display his fascination of systems, classifications and historical documents. Through this technique, Maggs was able to reveal the distance between symbols and their representation.

“…what I really wanted to do was to use the camera as a documentary tool – Just as Atget had. And I realized you didn’t have to resort to any visual tricks to do it. I wasn’t after a style. I just wanted to act as a recorder. I realized that all I wanted to do with the human head was simply to let people see it.” – National Gallery of Canada

His photographs give the viewer the opportunity to look at our surroundings to see ‘the unusual beauty in the commonplace’. This is everything from the markings on old books, to the shape of people’s heads. Maggs was not afraid to display his production throughout the exhibition process, recording the people, places and lived experiences that not only he found significant, but also those that have marked him. They can be seen as portraits of the artist.
When viewing his work at a recent exhibition in the National Gallery, Ottawa, the initial viewing of the pieces looks familiar, as it is something that many artists have adopted. Faces, from the centre of the display, looking in a more outward direction as you get to the edge of the display. When viewing this work closer, however, you start to see the imperfections of each photograph, where it may not have been developed fully and blurriness of movement. This makes the work seem more human, and brings you a closer connection with not only the piece, but also the development of it. I wish to allow the viewer to have this connection with the development of the piece when displaying my own work.

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