Damien Daufresne: Undertow
If you enjoy the experience of floating on a gentle body of water while watching sea birds swirl above you or are intrigued by a labyrinth of the mind and senses, Damien Daufresne’s new monograph, Undertow, will surely satisfy. Daufresne’s photographs, juxtaposed and harmonized with his abstract charcoal & chalk drawings, create moods that buffet the viewer in many subtle directions. There is a beautiful interplay between the delicate line drawings and the photographs that feels almost sensual in its execution. This is combined with a stunning design that is a visual tapestry as it unfolds the intimate ebb and flow of the photographer’s family with his stepchild and partner playing predominant and touching roles.
The book has been a work in progress for almost twenty years. It incorporates images that have been accumulated over the years of Daufresne’s wanderings and adventures with recurring leitmotifs that enhance the ever-present push and pull of water and the sea. The stark black and white views of clouds of migrating or swarming birds recall the Jorge Luis Borges tale of the Simurgh or king of the birds that is to be found in every bird and this theme pervades the book. But there is also an occasional sense of darkness and edginess as in the images of the howling dogs, an unidentifiable sea creature, and a black tower with a torn pennant flapping in the wind. On the brighter side, childhood, play and the ubiquitous presence of water meld in the figure of Lenoe, Daufresne’s stepdaughter, to whom the book is dedicated. She is the wave that breaks in steady rhythms as the book progresses…a water nymph that gradually comes into view.
Undertow was published by the Blow Up Press in 2022 and can be ordered on their website: www.blowuppress.eu
Damien Daufresne is a visual artist practicing photography, video, engraving and painting. Of French origin, he has lived and worked in Berlin since 2006.
He studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Since his first exhibition in 2001, his work has been regularly represented by various galleries and art centers. His photography and art have been published in various books and magazines.
In 2009 he co-founded the Shadow Theater Company “Les Ombres Portées “and has participated in the collective project “Temps Zero” since its creation in 2012.
He is represented by the gallery Georg Nothelfer in Berlin.
Follow Damien Daufresne on Instagram: @damiendaufresne
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