Eût-elle été criminelle…


Jean-Gabriel Periot subtly deals with expressive strength of images by reversing spectator's emotions towards them. He edits stock shots from liberation of France in a way that gives them a radical opposite meaning of what they were shot for: they were, for their operators, the sign of popular justice; they become, thanks to the editing work, the proof of collective sadism towards who came to be called 'horizontal collaborators'. The spectator is invited to question his own perception: the image speed slows down, the frame is partially reframe, creating an off-screen, and he is compelled to ask to himself what it is that these people are looking at with such an intense joy. The answer is striking. This brilliant work plays with both the spectator's eye and the spectator's ear: there is no commentary in the video, just an enigmatic title, an extract from Jean-Paul Sartre's writings, and the 'Marseillaise' lyrics, the meaning of which is obviously fierce.


Florence Gravas
Progress and Hygien exhibition catalog
Zacheta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki 2014