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According to the only confession present on his site, a false pretense of biographical elements, the attempt to explain the character is absurd and futile “A biography would be useless. The Turk was simply born one night while accidentally listening to the introduction to Johann Sebastian Bach's St. John Passion loudly through headphones. There is nothing outside of this major event, nothing beyond this desire, this fracture. All his work has since been dedicated to what he felt during those eight minutes or so, dedicated to the most authentic and faithful “retransmission” of this Passion born that evening. This is however one of the only tangible truths that will come out of his words and his photos.


The Turk is a phenomenon, an entity in its own right, a singular and irregular concept. Trying to summarize it in a summary and exhaustive biography would indeed be illusory. Just his pseudonym is a mystery, and he maintains it. Ask him about this name of theater and you will always have a different answer, as if the imagination of the spectator or the interlocutor was more important than knowledge, as if the fake was due to a stronger creative process than the true, the lie of the truth. Shaping and modeling the fake, to get closer to the real, sublimating the artifice to create aesthetics, here there is no denunciation, no purpose other than the artistic ideal of beauty. Beautiful or ugly, for that matter. The truth is dystopian: exhibiting the human, naked, as it is, in a dark world. Ugly, beautiful, dirty, disgusting, bad, sublime, extreme, opposites attract him, no moderation, everything is in excess. Prostitutes, mimes, pimps, clowns, suicides, outcasts, absurd and pathetic beings move on a stage where the aesthetic is exacerbated.


Like a mirror in front of the world, a reflection of ourselves, where the wearer laughs at the subject, the object, the spectator who can only be subjugated, disturbed, moved, because it is him who 'it's about. Here, the nude is not canon of beauty, it is the human condition, the aesthetics of the impure in a post-century world. He himself is a character in his own photographs, an active actor in his mental theatre, the Turk, authentic, faithful, ostentatious, in a sacred and profane tableau, God, Jesus, Bach, Elvis, Duchamp... He creates a world, his image, passionately, madly. Excessive, handyman, painter, decorator, make-up artist, tragedian, Le Turk is the most cocky of French photographers. The inspiration for his scenes, he draws it from French history, from the circus and the Pigalle-style cabaret, from the Parisian revolts, the “commune of Paris” from Christ to Burlesque. His universe is inspired by comics, films by Jeunet and paintings by Otto Dix or Jérôme Bosch. And even if his photographs are purely staged, they are nevertheless stolen scenes of life, a moment captured, a moment conquered, made of cardboard, wood, polystyrene and various accessories. We met Le Turk the day before its opening in an ephemeral gallery near the St Lazare station, in May 2015. Then came a young man in his thirties, with a shaggy capillarity, decked out in a jacket covered with decorations and military medals and a frock with hole in the buttocks. After a few questions where the man maintains the mystery about his life and his work, always an actor on a permanent theater stage, we discover an attractive, brilliant, passionate, authentic and despite everything sincere character.


How do you work for staging ?
First there is a desire that is born. Afterwards, you silence your brain and you do things. You try to switch off and let yourself be guided by your vision. At the beginning, there is a hard core that you try to hold on to, not to let go and you cling to it. Afterwards, everything is obvious, there are not 36,000 choices. There is no theory, the image, the sets are built little by little and when you have aesthetics as your only guide, there is no choice, I do things because they need be made. Your decor is made like that, with you, in spite of yourself, like that.


So your photo is only based on aesthetic ?

There are only losers to want to transcribe something more. There are plenty of things to say. Afterwards, the fact of knowing what I want to tell precisely would be pretentious and also inefficient. Someone who manages to know what he wants is not an artist, an accountant or a philosopher. I don't do books ; when you do a philosophical essay, the back cover, the synopsis will explain what the author wanted to put in it. But when you make pictorial art, logically everything is contained inside ! It's not you who is contained within, it's something else, it's something that goes beyond you. If ever you don't let yourself be guided and crossed by something else, as we are really small, there's no point in taking pictures apart from telling your trip or your breakfast. There are plenty of things around you, and I don't forbid myself to think about them, I forbid myself that they guide the aesthetic. Aesthetics goes beyond concept, goes beyond thought. And after you look at the photo, you take a step back and you realize that there are surprising things, I put this there... It's a chronicle, I chronicle a world in progress to crumble, to crumble. It's not me who thinks the world in its place !


And you put yourself on stage ?

I am very available for myself and of all the models I know, I am by far the most handsome ! So.

- Find the rest of Le Turk dansNormal Magazine n°1 et n°6 -

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