Les Défigurés, Amiens

A recent exhibition at La Maison de la Culture, Amiens, asks searching questions of our attitudes to facial disfigurement. Les Défigurés consists of large-format photographs of disfigured or facially injured people treated by Prof Bernard Devauchelle.

The photographer, Cyril Crépin, foregrounds the stigmatisation which surrounds facial injury and our enduring reticence when faced with the injured face. In this work, Cyril talks about the need to make ‘the unbearable beautiful’. These difficult images are all too often relegated to the margins of the visible. What, though of the ‘unsuspected beauty’ which can emanate from them? How do we take account of this category without running into ethical problems like those which give rise to the project in the first place? Do we risk normalising our responses? There’s a dilemma here between creating a new aesthetic category and attempting to retain the shock of the ‘unbearable’.


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