This work was inspired by a piece of news, dating back to end 2015, relating the seizure by french customs officers of Roissy Airport of 119 scorpions, family Pandinus Dictator. As rare as it is toxic, this scorpion from Cameroon’s tropical forest is worshiped by reptile aficionados. Imported from Cameroon, those living arachnids sold on a Facebook page were destined for U.S.
As the news item was beeing broadcasted on the radio non stop, Caroline Delieutraz has tried to put the pieces together in a visual puzzle made of ambivalent emotions caused by this fragile and dangerous, organic and robotic animal. She displays an installation based on repetition, analogy and dispersion that reffers both to Karl Blossfeldt early 20th century photographic surveys and to André Gunthert’s recent theory on conversational photography.
In a series of photographs (Pandinus Dictator, 2016. Series of 8 pigmentary prints on fine art paper, engraved glasses, 29,4 x 35,2 cm each), each seized scorpion is staged and assigned different degrees of ability (Venom, Strength, Resistance, Self-Control). Thanks to a projected shadow on each animal, this skills diagram makes them turn from entomologist classification to a system which gives them an exchange value.
The photography field extends to the object, especially through the flow and the varied of the scorpion pattern: a gigantic cushion is covered all over by it (Scorpio cushion, 2017. Cushion, scorpio pattern with Olivier Kimyon, 176 x 145 cm), whereas a scooter body cover is set on the wall so as to suggest a bright carapace, as well as a superhero’s armor (Black Armor, 2017. Fairing elements made of ABS plastic, 180 x 160 cm).
The world of scorpions’ collectors, amateurs and specialists is explored by Caroline Delieutraz in a video similar to Web navigation (Just The Fact Nothing But The Fact, 2017. HD video on screen 55’’, 10 min 26 s). As a red thread in this video, the making-of of the photo shooting shows an anonymous hand placing the scorpions so as to make them more photogenic. This gesture evokes picture production and manipulation. According to her favourite method, the artist combines this making-of with excerpts from newsgroups and with amateur footage or adverts. Then, the pictures she makes are reinjected in the flow. She also makes them circulate on smartphones caught in luggage racks, thus recalling the scorpion’s capture, the arachnid web or the camera viewfinder grid (Nets, 2016.3 cellphones in 3 black nets, found images, 20 x 27 cm each).
Between repulsion and the desire to own, this symbolic capture through photography highlights the power relationships that are woven in the flow of pictures and their almost subliminal influence on our aspirations.