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In a photographic career spanning 25 years, Seb Janiak has explored a remarkably diverse range of areas included celebrity, top model. A survey of his work would form a virtually complete picture of all the options offered by the photographic medium, such is its scope. In keeping with the lively tradition at the heart of photography, technological innovations open up the possibility of new types of image. However, only a handful of people can successfully forge an artistic idiom and blaze a trail in the uncharted territory unveiled by the new tools available to them. Fewer still can also provide innovative solutions to the issues raised by previous generations, but Seb Janiak features among their ranks. From his matte paintings with their revolutionary new techniques and unique perspectives in the mid-1980s, to his latest photographs of laser beams passing through prisms, attempting to capture light in its original purity without the use of artificial means (mirroring the endeavors of the founding fathers of photography in the first half of the 19th century), Janiak has successfully preserved a sense of cohesion while covering the full range of possibilities offered by photography. This cohesion is all the more remarkable considering the major break with the past in photography over the last thirty years represented by the advent of digital technology. Rejecting the straitjacket of specific schools or eras, but exploiting instead the complex nature of the world around him, Seb Janiak uses – and reveals in his photographs – the vibrant power of opposites.
Based in: Paris
Both natural and sophisticated, Seb Janiak’s photography is constantly on the verge of emotion. He achieves this by the use of forms and codes which need to be relearned. This may seem like a feat but it is, above all, a strange dialogue. We experience, in different degrees, feelings of opening and constriction which are close to pure sensation. And if, as the photographer states, "matter is just an illusion," then his images, in counterpoint, are an illusion of matter; but matter from which the creative artist has nevertheless removed a small corner of the veil. The risk of stagnancy is counteracted by a break-away with no possible return, underscored by the artist’s approach and by the forced flight of photography from its chrysalis. The beholder finds himself caught in a sudden beam of light, like a shell which has been opened by the jubilant skill of the artist who tracks down the "figure" to the ultimate frontiers of the unseen. The photography flourishes in all its fullness through this return upstream. The flat surface commutes into such depth that it appears as an invention. It was only after he had begun the series "Kingdom et Photon" that this approach, focusing on the Unseen, fully penetrated the mind of the artist. Below the chaosmic appearance is to be found a singular art drawn from the very roots of matter and chemistry. The finished work exceeds all archaeological treatises and molecular microphotography. It brings forth the true fullness of what is invisible. It attests to new demands never separated from forgotten fundamentals. In the action of photographing and in the immediacy of the present moment, Seb Janiak sets off a presaging tremor whereby life seems to assume some kind of absolute quality. Our artist may well claim contritely that: "My work simply uses the manifestation of invisible forces - photography is incapable of seeing what is invisible in the way that physicists can"; in his "Photon" series, the prints set off signals from the very depths of both the microcosmic and, paradoxically, the astronomical realms. Everything comes back together: life and death, the real and the imaginary, the past and the future, the top and the bottom, the communicable and the incommunicable.
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