Face Of Art: Philippe Chancel

Face Of Art: Philippe Chancel

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This book presents approximately 100 colour portraits of artists from all over the world, whom the photographer Philippe Chancel has met in the last fifteen years. There are the stars of the worldwide art scene such as Jeff Koons, Frank Stella, James Turrel, Matthew Barney, Pierre Soulages, Christian Boltanski, Giuseppe Penone, Miguel Barcelo, Christian Combas...The constellation of artistic stars does not exclude lesser-known figures whose work is just as interesting. The selection goes from people close to raw art, to living icons of the neo-avant-gardes, most in view on the contemporary scene. "Far from seeking to show the works in progress, Philippe Chancel's portraits focus on the artists themselves, in their creative environment or elsewhere, in an approach to contemporary portraiture that is derived from documentary photography. He makes modest portraits of contemporary artists, choosing artists in particular because, although he has photographed all sorts of people, he still finds that artists are placed in the freest and most interesting position 'at the heart of things'," Laurence Bertrand Dorleac, in an essay written for this book. This fast-paced book, in which each photograph is beautiful and mysterious enough to stand alone while transporting us into a strange, surprising world, ultimately shows the way a photographer and a group of artists see the world today: it shows the man at the origin of the work. His wrinkles, his worries, his desires, fears and disasters.


Introduced to photography at an early age by a photo journalist, Chancel took his first black and white snapshots of daily life in the suburbs. At twenty-two, after studying economics and photo-journalism, he decided to concentrate on photography. He was keenly interested by the press, which he saw as a way of reaching a wide public, and his first reports in Eastern Europe were published in major news magazines in France and abroad. He later worked closely with photography magazines. At the same time, he made his first portraits of plastic artistic in the "free figuration" and "video art" movement. For Photography Month in Paris in 1990 he exhibited this work for the first time under the title "Fragmented Art". In recent years he has explored this path further broadening its scope to all art fields. Philippe Chancel has just published Souvenirs de Paris, Thames & Hudson, 2004 and a book on great art collectors, La Martinière, planned for 2005.

Laurence Bertrand Dorléac is an art historian who has written extensively on twentieth century art. 

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