Denis Darzacq has developed personal work since the mid-1990’s. Like many other French photographers of his generation, Denis Darzacq worked in press photography which forged his artistic work and sharpened his eye for contemporary society. Darzacq takes the time for patient work in the field in direct contact with his subject. However he has broken with reporting and coverage-as-testimony in favour of a more analytical approach which has led to formally cohesive series. The close-ups in the series Only Heaven still show the artist’s personal involvement. However, the overhead views in Ensembles and the front views in Bobigny centre ville and in Casques de Thouars show the growing distance between the artist and his subject and even indicate the artist in the process of retreating.
Above all, Denis Darzacq has become convinced that planned images paradoxically serve to reflect society with greater acuity. Since 2003 he has turned to staging which involves the principle of disruption. The pose or condition of the people staged contrasts with the established order without spilling over into the spectacular. Nude men and women walk through suburban settings; others seem suspended in urban settings or among supermarket shelves. Handicapped persons repossess public space. In the recent series Recomposition I, Darzacq used digital editing for the first time to relentlessly pursue this edgy logic.
The body comes across as the common denominator in Denis Darzacq’s work. There are exceptions – the more abstract motifs such as the still lives in Recomposition I, the reflections of light sources in Fakestars – which convey the same sense of observation of the contemporary world. Denis Darzacq approaches the body like a sculpture; a sculpture of social commentary, for the body cannot be disassociated from the context in which it interacts. The body is the tool used to critique the problems and barriers inflicted on different groups of people, in particular disaffected youth from the outskirts of life, and, like in Act, populations on the fringe of society. Denis Darzacq puts his finger on the social contradictions and restrictions. He also beckons the viewer, through the breach created by movement stripped of meaning, to affirm ever-more complex identity than what meets the eye, and to assume a form of freedom where freedom seems to have vanished.