Suzanne Pagé (english)

The Portraits of Roland Fischer

A physical over-presence but like an absence in the world, an
excess of flesh revealed by the stark contrast of the strict black and white that
denies framing the effects of an exhibited but constrained sensuality,
“abstract”, in the confinement of the headdress or the hood – cami-
sole and protection – the border with the world is here the very one
which also delimits the field of the Photo.
Through the series of portraits of monks and nuns produced by Ro-
land Fischer from 1984 to 1987, flush with the dense crystallization of
faces that escape by their frontality without pose and austerity
from a composition without landmarks to their very physical significance and
to any contamination of the century, what is given to see here is
first the interiorized world of the “closure”, as equivalent to
the photographic space itself, the framing of one covering that
on the other, the ordinance of one revealing itself in the ‚Order of the other,
the rules of one in the Rule of the other. The strange power of
these portraits is due to the extreme adjustment of this coincidence, up to
than trouble. From the encounter of the subject in photography and through it.

The impressive reality by the photograph is here less that which
would perceive the eyes that, captured precisely by the photo alone,
the very one which, concentrated in the eyes, reveals itself in the gaze
and binds, beyond their diversity, all these faces by a common
purely interior vision in which they are absorbed.

In these looks, natural borders of two realities, of the flesh
and of the spirit, of the real and of another real, the very excess of appearance,
further accentuated by the large format, delivers less a confession than a
secret of a hidden tension that only surfaces, revealed through
the strictly economical exercise of the photographic gaze itself
even as a spiritual exercise. Captivated, the naked evidence of an out-
field then arises in the image of the very crossing of the real,
as if overwhelmed.

Suzanne Pagé
Paris, 1989

Suzanne Pagé was the director of Musée d’art Moderne de la ville de Paris
between 1988 and 2006

published in: Roland Fischer Portraits, Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris 1989