Jean-Pierre Khazem
1968, Paris. Lives and works in Paris

“… she is singularly statuesque and soulless. Her figure is regular, and so are her features… and if her eyes were not so utterly devoid of life, I may say, of the power of vision, she might pass for a beauty… She seemed to us to be only acting like a living creature, and as if there was some secret at the bottom of it all.” These are the words Siegmund tells his friend Nathanael, warning him against the strange creature Olympia, in ETA Hoffmann’s The Sandman. Her stiffness, apathy and near-perfection are what makes Siegmund dislike her, and the reasons why Nathanael falls madly in love with her. A love that turns to madness when her true nature is revealed: she is an automaton. The figures populating Jean-Pierre Khazem’s work share Olympia’s nature. His Mona Lisa, the women in “Pause”… their faultless facial features, statuesque postures and cold gazes are too perfect to be human. Khazem covers his models’ faces with crafted masks that don’t allow them to see, and registers them within the confines of a pristine set. The resulting images blur the distinction between the human and the animal (mechanical). When Nathanael gets too close to Olympia, not aware of the boundaries between his and her world, the
distinction between reality and its clone, between true and false, no longer apply. In Jean-Pierre Khazem’s world we are confronted with a reality that contradicts the one we know. The seemingly playful images he creates stop being a game from the moment they reveal the true absurdity of the world. And then, from that moment, madness is the only sanity.
— Pablo Lafuente

Selected solo exhibitions: 2003: Deitch Projects, NewYork; Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; 2002: Färgfabriken, Stockholm; 2000: W&LT, Anvers, Belgium; 1998: Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris.
Selected group exhibitions: 2003: Le Colloque des Chiens II, Centre Wallonie Bruxelles, Paris; 2002: Le Cirque en Majesté, Abbaye de Montmajour, Arles, France; Sans Consentement, Centre D’Art, Neuchatel, Switzerland; Archelogy of Elegance Phototriennale, Hamburg; 2001: 5ty One Fine Art Photography, Anvers, Belgium; 49a Biennale di Venezia; Encontros da Imagem, Braga, Portugal; 2000: International Festival of Fashion Photography, Kobe Fashion Museum, Nagoya/ Tokyo; 1999: Now, Färgfabriken, Stockholm; L’enfance de l’art, Piltzer, Paris; The Spiritual Side of Beauty, Marella, Sarnico, Italy; In de ban van de ring, Stedelijk Modemuseum, Hasselt, Belgium.

Mona Lisa Live, 2003. Courtesy Deitch Projects, New York.