Gérard Rancinan


A Small Man in a Big World
26.04.2014 > 21.06.2014


The photographer, Rancinan, and the essayist, Caroline Gaudriault, present a premier at the Valérie Bach Gallery : A Small Man in a Bug World, composed of original photographic works by Rancinan and a poetic essay which came up from a conversation between Caroline Gaudriault and the American thinker, Francis Fukuyama. Mankind has become too small, overwhelmed by world characterized by invariable geometry. Such is the pureness of the knowingly minimalist aesthetic that Rancinan has chosen to develop as part of a reflection by Caroline Gaudriault on the thought of Francis Fukuyama, American philosopher and theorist of the “End of History.” A Small man in a Big World is an attentive, alert and lucid analysis of the potential future of the human species. It expresses a dialogue between image and thought, a powerful echo transformed into a cry of alarm. Caroline Gaudriault and Gérard Rancinan have been involved in a dialogue on art and literature for the last fifteen years. Together, they conceptualize their artistic intentions, pose questions and transcribe each others’ ideas, each in their own medium. While Rancinan’s photographs confront the spectator on an emotional level, the thoughts of Caroline Gaudriault invite us to take time to pause and reflect.  

Each new series is a risk for Rancinan, who does not hesitate, in his all-or-nothing vision of the world, to make a break with his preceding work. It would have been a mistake to imagine him forever creating “voluntarily baroque and chatty” mises en scène revisiting the codes and signs of Western history, with a team of fifty people working in a studio. This time he has chosen to use the studio in a more intimate way, using contemporary music as a soundtrack and working with just one dancer. Applying a graphic, minimalist, pure graphic approach, he plays on contrast, producing an aesthetic that veers towards the black and white, without entirely eschewing other colors. Thanks to its contemporary and monumental aspects, however, the work is nevertheless very much identifiable as his own. Rancinan applies symbolism to describe Man’s attitudes to the world by playing with geometrical forms. He pushes the limits, seeks out the essential line of demarcation between Man and his world, the precarious equilibrium of the tension between them, sometimes in a harmonious relationship, sometimes in a destabilizing one. It is always a question of finding the right axis, a metaphor for the meaning people give their lives. 

Caroline Gaudriault has examined the place of Man in contemporary society and commented on the contradictions inherent in the temptation to plunge head first into a promising modernity. In the three volumes of The Trilogy of the Moderns, she analyses this temptation in interviews with, amongst others, Paul Virilio, Claude Hagède, Axel Kahn and Cardinal Barbarin … With impertinence, she paints the picture of a society in search of absolute happiness, freedom, and the fulfillment of personal desires, of infantilisation and uniformity. Irreverent and humorous, she nevertheless goes to the heart of the matter, at the risk of occasionally setting an alarmist tone. The lucid tone A Small Man in a Big World provides a place for a poetic perspective on human nature. As if, in an era in which questions on human identity are being posed, she wanted to evoke the human in all its beauty and fragility. It is not a question of threat, because humanity is already in a new époque. Playing with dystopian ideas, she imagines what the New Man might be like. This free form of writing, was born of a conversation with the theorist of “the end of History,” political scientist and philosopher, Francis Fukuyama. Together, they pose the questions of finitude and decadence.