s a neurotic collector, collecting, ordering, categorizing and exhibiting things have always
given me immense pleasure. I think that I am mainly looking for an aesthetic emotion in the assemblage of things (or ideas) that at first glance
might seem incongruous or even tasteless. I was such an obsessive person that I deliberately convinced my children to start a collection
of toys I disliked to try to make a harmonious display on a shelf. If it’s ugly, let’s push it to the extreme… the quantity might make it beautiful ;)
In this chaotic world, the objects surrounding me always prove to be my stable reference points... They protect me, somehow.
I also feel a deep need for inertia. As a home bird, I do not wish to travel the world and discover as many countries as possible.
I’d rather stay at home, or when travelling, go back to the same place over and over in order to blend in with the locals.
I’d like to keep things as they are, but my adult life decided that moving had to be a yearly ritual.
Each time I moved to a new place, I was terrified of the quantity of stuff I had accumulated. But I also became much more careful with the
objects I really cherished. I needed them close at all time. I even started wearing all my gold chains (which are all souvenirs of people I adore)
together, like a sailor wearing golden earrings to pay for their funeral if something were to happen. Taking my chains off at night was not even an option.
In April 2018, when opening the last of the moving boxes, I was confronted with all my belongings once again. It made me question
the continuous cycle of my insane and irrational accumulation and the relationship I have with the objects that surround me.
The real value that I assign to them (their necessity, their familiarity, their rarity, their oddity...), the feelings they fill
me with, the ties that connect me to them, so much so that I need their presence, physically or mentally.
Presented in a big space inside (on a unique surface or on various walls in the same room) and/or on an immense surface outside,
I want to bring visitors face to face with this nauseating mass of images to challenge them to think about the relationship with their own possessions.
Longing for more stability in my life, I felt the urge to really lock myself into my new place. I decided then and there to
push the limits of my inertia and neuroticism by getting up close and personal with my belongings and analyze all of them in detail.
Following Kant, for whom the object exists but becomes acknowledged only when the subject faces it and recognize it as such,
I started a radical confrontation with my possessions through my photographic lens. I entitled this long and intimate adventure ‘KATALOG’.
Most of my possessions are kept out of sight (in drawers, boxes, cupboards, cellars…), but to be totally honest with myself,
I needed to capture them all. No book, no piece of clothing, no kitchen utensil, no Lego was going to escape my lens. Room after room,
floor after floor, I photographed every object in my home to get a complete overview, without limitations. I was forced to face
the volume of my possessions and the extent of my consumption, risking an overwhelming feeling of disgust or overdose.
To avoid making mistakes, I put a rigorous and precise method into practice. Going from left to right in each room, using
Post-its to remind me which objects were already photographed. After every shoot, I added data in an excel file: colour, size,
sentimental value, material, location of the object or even how many times it had been taken out of its 'hiding place'.
In my selection I defined some limitations:
→ I did not photograph fixed things in the house, because they are not a personal choice (bath, washbasin…);
→ I did not photograph food because it is ephemeral;
→ I did not not photograph two-dimensional objects (paper, letters, photos…), because they have no real volume;
→ I did not photograph more than 30 of the same objects (Lego, marbles…)
→ I did not photograph separate parts of a whole (straws, needles, box of games…).
I deliberately isolated each object on a neutral light grey background to take it out of its environment and to really have a clear view of its value to me.
During my voluntary confinement, I read a lot about the search for material happiness. Over time, I realised that most of my possessions are more
a source of confusion than pleasure. I feel little attachment to them, but at the same time, isolating my possessions
(even the most ordinary one) and classifying them according to specific criteria, gives them an importance and a certain
subjective beauty. As such, even a bottle of cough syrup that leaks down the sides develops an aesthetic interest that I would like to retain.
I hoped to say goodbye to many things, but ended up loving so much more of my belongings. I am definitely not Marie Kondo ;)