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Voyeurism in Virtualité

Taking a closer look at the surreally erotic and intimate work of Parisian photographer, Johann Bouche-Pillon

From decorating the Agnes B shops to a solo show and forthcoming work to be published in Sova magazine, Parisian photographer and freelance graphic designer, Johann Bouché-Pillon’s collection of nude, naked muses and mysterious, robed figures demand attention.  Drawing upon cinematic impulses, Margiela and desacrilization, his photographs have an eery touch, from floral genitalia as an homage to Georgia O'Keefe to a Max Ernst tribute. 

With the first issue of his self-edited, free magazine Virtualité he fuses dialogues between different disciplines under the main theme of intimacy. For the issue a visual artist, a philospher and a photographer were all brought together to give their interpretations of intimacy.

Here Dazed speaks to him about the magazine, the voyeurism of social media and his inspirations.

Dazed Digital: What inspires you visually?

Johann Bouché-Pillon: I'm very inspired by cinema. The interrupted flow of images and the staged aspect, as well as the performance. For example, I'm really into the movies of Sharunas Bartas, Matthew Barney, and more recently Sergei Parajanow, not forgetting the History of Cinema by Jean-Luc Godard. It's close to the aesthetic of music videos, it seems abstract and deconstructed at first sight, but it still serves an underlying idea and builds an allegory. Strangely enough, those concepts don’t seem to apply to photography, but for me, it’s the instinctive and performative aspect that I put forward when I'm making those pictures, more than the act of photographing itself. In fact, it's this idea of « art total » that really attracts me.

DD: What have been your main projects so far?

Johann Bouché-Pillon: I decorated the Agnes B shops, I made a solo-show in a gallery last year, and a publication in the magazine Sova is coming soon. So far, I’ve worked alone in an underground sort of way. I think my experience experimenting with a lot of techniques, also the long and tedious ones (painting, drawing), that I’ve now put aside has led me to a more precise idea of where to go with my work. 

DD: Tell us about Virtualité?

Johann Bouché-Pillon: The first issue was a paper magazine, 100 % recycled, published in English and French and also distributed in Paris, Nice, Berlin and New York for free. It’s independent and I’m seeking to visualize the impact of modern technologies on everyday life. The next issue will be online and I'm now curating people for the next fall-winter edition, I will also prepare a release party too in Paris with an exhibition.

DD: What does the Intimacy issue of Virtualité involve?

Johann Bouché-Pillon: The magazine brings together photos related to the everyday life of each contributor, for example, a bathtub or a tattoo on the lower back part.  These photos were offset by text that, for example was taken from Facebook statuses and originally not intended to be published. The editorial as well is about the addictive and sensual relationship we have with the screen, which is pervading our lives in every aspect. Of course, this also has to do with the intrinsic voyeurism linked to the use of social networks that we are all aware of, and which is entirely integrated and accepted as such in the magazine. The aim is to extract that binary and transcient information and reinject it in a print medium.

The SS13 issue of Virtualité is now online.