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Art Photobook Reviews

L'attrape-rêves (The Dreamcatcher) by Anton Delsol

It is somewhat telling that in a book entitled Dream Catcher, the first image we encounter appears as a receding passage with the word Hell scrawled boldly on its ceiling. If this is what awaits the sleeper, the night ahead promises to be long and restless.

And yet Delsol’s nocturnal visions uniformly entreat and entice, like the slightest of smiles or the brush of fingertips. This is a world which you enter cautiously but willingly.

The artist has made it clear that he is not telling one particular story within these covers, rather it seems, capturing fleeting glimpses or suggestions of fantasies, memories or suppressed desires.

If our dreams are a series of interconnected but unrelated spaces through which we pass, then here we are left to fumble our way through the darkness, peering through bleary eyes along pathways, down corridors and into rooms into which we appear to be invited but with no explanation of what awaits us.

There are suggested cycles here, the journey and the reward.

Paths through forests, rough and overgrown.

Stairs and hallways, empty - derelict - abandoned.

Doorways and rooms, beds and old abandoned mattresses.

Religious iconography and animals - crosses and horses.

Make no mistake this is unquestionably a voyage taken through the eyes of a man. The figures we encounter are all female and presented through a hailstorm of emotions which move from serene,and submissive to dominant and ecstatic

It is quite obvious that Delsol adores women, the cast and characters we encounter reflect this with every click of the shutter. The reality being that this is the kind of dream that many would happily get lost in. The obstacles and detritus placed in the metaphysical pathways more than justified by the requited promise of a denied yearning.

One diptych lingers in my mind however.

The room is empty, its door open, the chipped and peeling green paint as tired as the dimly lit interior. A watery light dribbles through an elaborately framed interior window, whispers with a washed out blue light from somewhere on the other side of the wall.

The counterpoint is a solitary figure, a naked woman with her back to the camera, standing in the middle of a room.

She commands our attention because rather than the svelte and alluring perfection that populates The Dream Catcher, here is normality. A body that belongs to the real world. Not the toned taut skin of a fantasies perfection, rather the bland normality of an ordinary person.

Her head is bowed and although facing away, her hands protect her modesty from an absent audience.

This is the shame of normality and the real shame is that we all feel it. In a world where even perfection is no longer considered sufficient we are left feeling desolate, bereft that whatever is achieved, nothing will ever be good enough.

That we will never be good enough.

Surface is everything, until the surface is !

It is here that Delsol touches a nerve.

Reality has surreptitiously slithered into the chimera, perhaps from time to time the dreamer stirs.

L’attrape-rêve (The Dreamcatcher) is self published in an edition of 150 copies.

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