Philippe Soussan Analysis: Are we decieved by reality?

Shirt and Chair: Soussan is able to bend our perception of reality. He does this by deceiving the viewer with materials. Although the viewer may know what they are looking at at the first glimpse, they are proven wrong by the collaboration between ready-made objects and paper photographs/drawings. He replaces familiarity with a sense of distortion. His work remains simplistic and minimalistic in its entirety, but the work, on a further look, has a rather odd quality that inflicts self-doubt in the viewer. Whilst looking at a variety of Soussan’s work, the viewer becomes familiarised with the idea that he bends reality. When looking at some of his pieces, for example, the chair, it is more evident that the piece is distorted overall in comparison to other pieces like the one consisting of the shirt. Knowing about Soussan’s style, one cannot distinguish whether the shirt is simply behind the paper, or if the shirt is a distorted photograph manipulated by hand to create the texture of a shirt with its folds and ridges. This stylistic approach creates doubt in the viewer- making the viewer question the visual physicality of all his works. Arguably, his work sets up an example to viewers that the world should not be understood or accepted at first glance. To understand the world we live in, we should be more perceptive and be cautious. This piece reminds the viewer that you are forever being deceived by your own reality and no matter how much you trust your own instincts you must questions what you see.

“The art I call conceptual is such because it is based on an inquiry into the nature of art,” Kosuth has written. “Thus, it is . . . a working out, a thinking out, of all the implications of all aspects of the concept ‘art,’ . . . Fundamental to this idea of art is the understanding of the linguistic nature of all art propositions, be they past or present, and regardless of the elements used in their construction.”

Joseph Kosuth

Though it is unclear if the pieces are linked contextually to any events or art historical influences, from my own interpretation his work could be linked to Van Gogh’s painting of a chair and Joseph Kosuth’s ‘One and Three Chairs’. Therefore, the chair, as well as other objects used such as the shirt, hold a significant symbolic value in the work also that cannot be ignored. Almost like iconography of the modern and contemporary art world.

All images used belong to the respective artists mentioned above.

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