PEINTRE DE LA JUSTICE/
LES CASQUES BLEUS
by Thierry Geoffroy/ COLONEL
The series COLONEL PEINTRE DE LA JUSTICE / LES CASQUES BLEUS is created from 1991 to 2001. The artworks are based on a daily artistic registration of the newspaper’s way of communicating about conflicts through photography.
Each time the artist sees a black and white picture of a person in uniform he would extract it by taking it out of the newspaper context, removing the related text and painting a blue helmet.
Most of the artworks are done the same day the newspaper is published. The date, written on the artwork and the name of the newspaper are thus part of its the aesthetic expression as well as the concept. The date also makes it possible to trace back the story.
UN blue helmet is an artistic metaphor for innocence and good intention. The series COLONEL PEINTRE DE LA JUSTICE / LES CASQUES BLEUS questions the propaganda as well as the lack of alertness and critical awareness, that the color blue connected to the UN, creates among the media consumers.
The series is a result of 10 years long registration and has a value of an art collection, which because of it size and diversity, can bring to light interesting analytic aspects about the aesthetic of the media as well as dissimilarity in the interpretation of conflicts from different geographical, cultural and political contexts. For example, there would be a tendency of exposing the wounded people and blood in connection with some conflicts but not with others.
By analyzing the photographic compositions, it is possible to discover that certain conflicts, such as the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, were mostly documented through staged photos where the framings as well as the positioning of the motifs, like soldiers, victims often appeared and prepared. Even the placement of UN-, Red Cross- and other organization logos seemed predefined.
This analysis makes us reflect on what is the staged photography compared to a snapshot and how the two different ways of documentation are used in the storytelling created by the media.
Our opinions about the contemporary world are often shaped by the images in the media. Thierry Geoffroy is aware of the images power to influence the reader, be it consciously or subconsciously.
The usage of the color blue also has a reference to Yves Klein's International Blue and questions thus the painting and the artist's role as a painter in today's context. Can a color blue have a magic capacity to bring goodness to the world of conflict? As the title of the series indicate, during the production of these artworks Thierry Geoffroy almost naïvely takes the position of “peintre de la justice”.
By painting all uniformed people in the newspaper photos with blue, he makes them equally innocent and suddenly the contradiction between the violent actions on some of the images and the blue color signifying the piece, stands out. Thierry Geoffroy’s unusual take on the media image with the blue paint creates an eye-opening art series that makes the viewers question the innocence and naïve image of the uniformed forces, even those we normally consider peacemakers.
Thierry Geoffroy/ COLONEL (b.1961) has been working with the concept of fast, moving and daily changing exhibitions since 1989. His artworks are today included in international museum collections.
Among previous exhibitions following can be mentioned.:
P.S.1/ MOMA, New York, USA; ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe, DE; Sprengel Museum, Hannover, DE; Moderna Museet, the Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, SE; HEART- Herning Museum of Contemporary Art Denmark, Herning, DK; Plazzo Delle Arti Napoli, IT; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, DK; Galerie Asbaek Copenhagen, DK; The Maldives Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice, IT; Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK; Manifesta Biennal, Murcia, ES; National Museum Rejkavik, FI; Galerie Olaf Stüber, Berlin, DE, IKM Museum, Oslo, NO; Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, NL; Devron Arts, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, SCO; The Model, Sligo, IR; Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen, DK; Cairo Biennale, Cairo, EG; Blackwood Gallery Toronto, CAN; Galerie Ileana Tounta, Athens, GR; Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Osnabrück, DE. .
Artworks for sale: