It is not uncommon for art lovers to be also book lovers. This makes artist Jean Marc Godès, who devotes his practice to books, a favourite of mine. With his evocative photographic mises en scène Godès celebrates books not as mere objects but as lively entities organically interacting with the world. His series of poetic images is called Livres en vie (Living Books).
Born in Guadalupe but citizen of the world, Godès has focused on the universe of books as a form of homage to both his father – who was a writer – and poet Jacques Prévert. He describes himself as ‘director of still images’. In fact, each scene depicting the living books in action is carefully staged before taking the picture so that no photo-manipulation is involved in the final result. The artist’s tireless work is inspired by the passionate belief in the power of books intended as living organism carrying personal and collective histories.
Livres en vie offers us Godès’ many imaginative answers to the question ‘what a book can be and do’…
Books challenge and push us:
Books hook us:
Books urge us to slow down against the contemporary myth of a fast-paced life:
Books uplift our lives while keeping us grounded:
Books are powerful tools of freedom….…because they open up unforeseen new horizons…
All of Godès’ mises en scène are pervaded by a sort of magic realism. His photo-poetic celebration of books calls for interpretation. At times they trigger the need to ‘decode’ the situation behind them.
Other times, they work as the starting point for imaginative associations. And when art meets books, it should not come as surprise if a specific book come to mind. So, the mouse protagonist of some of Godès‘s images reminded me of Firmin, the rat whose life writer Sam Savage has recounted in the eponymous book. Just like for Firmin books became the very things keeping him alive, Godès little mouse can rely on books as shelter, lifesaving tool and ideal nourishment.
To explore more of Jean Marc Godès‘ poetic homages to books, please visit his website here.
All images ©Jean Marc Godès courtesy of the artist