In September, we introduced you to Jan Groover’s kitchen utensils; now, make room for Patrick Tosani’s spoons! While both photographers go to the kitchen for their photographic experiments, both the approach and the result are derived from very different processes, highlighting all the possibilities afforded by the medium within a single playing field. An experimenter, technician and quasi-scientist, Tosani’s work is done both in studios and in labs. The spoon, his chosen subject, becomes the center of a photographic protocol carefully staged and repeated, in order to bring about the experiment’s intended result: the series.
Patrick Tosani’s 1988 series titled Spoons is being revamped today in the space devoted to Monet’s Nymphéas at the Musée de l’Orangerie, in the form of a dialogue between the past and the present that brings out many matching elements. Indeed, Tosani, much like an Impressionist painter, explores the potentialities of the series and, with it, an object’s capacity for perpetual reinvention through photography. While the spoon remains the same spoon, “Spoon J,” as the artist named it, is different from all the others because it is unique. Reflecting the light at two nearly symmetrical points on its concave side, its uniqueness comes precisely from the portrait of light it presents at one specific T moment. The following moment, Spoon J will no longer exist and will give birth to a new portrait, to another spoon.
This formal approach enables the photographer to draw a parallel between photography and human vision, between the imperfections, the minute transformations and the capacity for abstraction. Just like the human eye, the mechanical process seems, at this scale, able to capture the imprint of time and to be endowed with sensibility. And Patrick Tosani manages to express that to us with the back of a spoon.
By Anne Laurens
Tosani. Reflets et transpercements.
October 16, 2019 – February 17, 2020
Musée de l’Orangerie, Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris