Nominated by Milo Keller (Swiss photographer & Professor)
Matthieu Croizier (b. 1994, Switzerland) is a freelance artist and photographer based in Lausanne. He graduated from the Vevey School of Photography (CEPV) in 2017 and from the Bachelor Photography of the Cantonal School of Art in Lausanne (ECAL) in 2020. Using photography as a tool, he tries to transform reality into fantasy – or the opposite – and to blur the boundaries between what is considered normal and what is not. From then on, he is mainly interested in the representation of the human body and seeks, in his work, to evoke the tension between opposing notions, such as the beautiful and the ugly, fascination and repulsion, the ordinary and the spectacular. He is a laureate of the Carte Blanche Students 2020, a Futures Talent 2021 as well as a British Journal of Photography’s Ones to Watch 2021. He is now working on publishing his first photobook with Mörel Books.
Everything goes dark a little further down, 2020
This project investigates the concept of ordinary monstrosity, unravelling the boundaries between what is thought of as normal and abnormal, using the body as a primary material. As a starting point, I examined the construction of monstrosity throughout history, from the invention of hysteria in the 19th century to the role of freak shows, where staging was essential and images were manipulated to play a vital role in reinforcing the norm. We hold on to binary ideas of beauty, actively distinguishing between what is beautiful and ugly. I wanted to blur these ideas with this work, to show that monstrosity exists within us all and that it is a concept that has been shaped and constructed over time.
Through self-representation, I seek to fabricate monstrosity out of simple things surrounding me, to embrace it rather than to reject it. I have always identified with freaks, feeling othered by my queerness, and this idea of claiming my own monstrosity really helped me become who I am. This project represents for me the materialization of a long inner journey that I have had to go through since I was a teenager. It is a love letter to the abnormal, a renunciation of being normal.
In reference to medical or anatomical iconography, I try to deconstruct normative representations of the body. To what extent is a body a body, and how can it free itself from the norms that constrain it? The photographs depict an extraordinary act of metamorphosis, where fragments are melded together to create something new. Despite the spectacular aesthetics of the images, it is just a show of banalities and the monstrosity, which seems disturbing at first, ends up revealing its own construction.