Sgt Foley, from the series First Person Shooter
© THIBAULT BRUNET
This collection was produced during a training session in an American camp in Afghanistan. Far from the activity of the shooting ranges and explosions, I strided along the area looking for other soldiers. I first encountered them playing basketball, bodybuilding or just sitting, far away from the restlessness of missions. I then took pictures of them from a close point of view, and then further away. I busted these synthetic faces looking for a light. A trouble remains present. All the elements of the reality of war are here, but we can sense a strange sensitiveness in the looks. The marks of horror and suffering are on the soldiers’ faces, but yet beyond this hyper realistic anthropomorphism, we can also feel a kind of vague indifference… - THIBAULT BRUNET about the series First Person Shooter
THIBAULT BRUNET is a virtual war photographer. Since 2007 he found his subjects in the world of video games, capturing black-and-white portraits of soldiers, war-torn landscapes and views from within dilapidated buildings, all without leaving the comfort of his home in Lille, France.
These games are inspired by American popular, historical and political culture. They involve getting through missions — murder, blackmail, theft and escape, enemy liquidation, bombing or even the occupation of territories such as Afghanistan. I chose to explore these games against the natural will of my avatars, the one that the usual player would use. I chose to do it as a photographer. (..) These pictures were taken over the course of my walks in these virtual universes. The slow motion of my walks led me to explore the spaces that are usually forgotten by players — the outskirts of barren and industrialized areas.
By presenting images that are not photographs but screenshots of computer renderings, THIBAULT BRUNET‘s work invites skepticism about the representation of reality in general. His art is a reflection on the new boundaries between truthfulness and falsehood, between reality and its avatars, by means of the continuous progress of technology that blurs their frontiers.
And good news: his first solo exhibition has opened a few days ago at 4RT Contemporary in Brussels: the series First Person Shooter, along with some work from his latest series Paris: In the Aftermath of War, are on view through May 19, 2012.