La Route d’Emeraude

‘La Route d’Emeraude’ is an antique text I purchased in a brocante whilst on an artist residency in Provence, France in the late summer of 2021. The composition of this self portrait was inspired by Stephan Gladieu’s series of photographs, ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Portraits’, that I saw during the Arles photography festival. The uncomfortable forlorn expressions captured in scenes of social propaganda made me want to examine how ideas of prosperity are perpetuated within the media in the western world.

La Route d’Emeraude (which translates as The Emerald Road) has connotations of wealth & abundance; which I equate to Nietzche’s notion of “man’s will to power”. We are all constantly striving, from one project to the next, we are on an endless emerald road that leads to emboldening the will to desire more. The ritualistic nature of an innocuous haircut and grooming, may be perceived as ‘a will to power’ in itself. The perpetual barrage of media propagating images and ideas of what it means to be beautiful; serves to impose onto the consumer what they should strive for. This work looks to challenge this status quo and pose questions of what are we as a society and what should we as a society be striving towards.