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The Shadow of your Smile – Yves Hayat

Hayat’s work leads us to think that we live in two parallel worlds: one, the universe of representations, full of symbolism, superfluity and bombast, and the other, chaotic and tragic. But, in both worlds lies destruction. Society is under a constant threat of ruin and the seductive screen of luxury is powerless to conceal this truth.

In contemplating these works, we become aware that violence, like luxury, can tear us from the essential: to be worthy of life and to remain dignified in life. Let us never forget that civilization has driven us, many a time, to barbarism. And, as Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly so rightly said, “the crimes of extreme civilization are most likely more atrocious that those of extreme barbarism”. Danger is represented as much by the delighted contemplation of the indecent images of frivolous pleasure (that is suggested through the promotion of luxury), as by the terrifying manifestations of the power of war. Just as Narcissus was fascinated by his own image, we are also fascinated.

Looking at Hayat’s work leads us to all these thoughts, though without despair, because this artist’s approach, looking closely, is stamped with humour, mockery and even with certain tenderness. Hayat knows how to keep a healthy distance between him self and the world he transcribes and invites us, without a doubt, to do likewise.

François Birembaux, 2015