Lionel Arnaudie -The figure of the idol has a mesmerizing and seductive power. The admiring crowd raises him or her to a higher rank, and turns the idol into an object of worship and contemplation. The Idol series shows the special relationship between these two parties, and focuses on its passionate and destructive nature.
Everybody needs to identify with somebody or something they regard as an ideal. In a way, the idol embodies what we would like to become and what we will never and cannot be. In this new series the crowd tries to get closer to the idol by loving him, by seducing him. But the line between admiration and covetousness is very easily crossed. Devotees seek to seize him, to possess him, until he is completely wiped out.
Nothing is eternal, nothing is unalterable, even ideals. The idol exists through the eyes of his admirers. They keep him alive but they can also destroy him.
For this new project, the main challenge was to photograph a lot of people that all were to appear on a single image. Every model was photographed individually and they were all put together afterwards, thanks to an image editor. This technique required me to know very precisely what the series was going to look like before the photo shoots. As for all my series, I started by drawing the images I had in mind. It allows me to get an overview of my work. I had gone through the same process for my previous series,“Bronze”, but with a different approach. For “Bronze”, the drawings emphasized on the clothes the models wore because they were very important for the project’s aesthetic. In the series “Idol” aesthetic is important but it is not the main object of the project. There is a chronology, a story, connections between the characters, different poses, different framings. All of these aspects had to be taken into account to make a coherent series. The final drawings were then more focused on the models positions and movements. But I had first gathered informations about the human body and drawn a lot of preliminary sketches.
As for the “Bronze” series, it was very important for me to imagine and make the objects that appear in the pictures. It enabled me to reproduce the exact images I had in mind and I had drawn. I have always liked manual work, and it is an important part of my work as a photographer. For “Bronze”, I had designed and sewed the collars the models wear. For “Idol”, I imagined and embroidered the mask the idol wears. It is made of pearls and diamantés, “precious” material. This mask’s function is not only decorative. It erases facial expressions and makes the idol a universal, anonymous figure. The idol’s body and the way in which it moves must be his only way of expression. [Official Website]