Christian Boltanski’s “Chance”, seen here displayed openly to the public in the French Pavilion of Venice Biennale in 2011, is simply fascinating.
I love the idea of mixing and matching faces together because of just how genuinely light-hearted it is. It’s a fun artistic idea and the notion that Boltanski stated that “if every image lands together to make your face you get to keep the machine” is hilarious in how it reflects his perception of chance. It’s always going to be turbulent so why not play into that?
Yet there’s another much darker side to it. It not only uses the post-modern to reflect on how incredibly rare this idea is, it also dances in the macabre by involving death.
In an article written about Boltanski’s work, here , the writer mentions how the idea of reflecting on images of people who no longer exist and placing their faces together with those who do, brings out a dark tonality to the piece.
I can’t quite figure out if their’s a message at all hidden in this decision. But it feels as if it works alongside the idea of chance by honing in on the “dice roll” so to speak. In the moment where someone is waiting to see what images are put together they are thinking about both the deceased and the living. The past and the present.
Whatever photo it now brings up, it simply is. And you’re thinking about every option because of it.