DIANE LA CHASSERESSE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: IRIS BROSCH

TEXT BY DAVID GOLDENBERG

INTERVIEW BY: MICHAEL WILLIAMS

Filmed and Photographed at  Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, France.

Notes From The Director.

Imagine a Modern Diane, as an idea of woman reclaiming the heart of Nature from civilization historically shaped by the Male system. Here the new Diana, as a new woman, as a contemporary goddess, occupies her own system,  every woman has the capacity to be a goddess and the power to change this planet.

At the end of this time and entrance into new time the living and the dead stand together.

How is a new creature, a new Diana, imagined at the end of time? What does this new time and new space look like? It is said that there is very little difference between now time, Paradise and Eden, and even the eternal return of the same which imagines the shift from now into new spaces for new humans? It is said to look exactly like everyday life but with a difference. What is this difference? You can see the new film posing this question.

We can see this new time civilization the end of the catastrophe, the end of the destruction of animals, nature, the environment and the end of the long historical and unforgivable misuse of women.

But strangely enough Brosch is assembling her new woman, her new Goddess, at a time of renewed puritanism and prudery. But let’s say in this new time previous iterations of what we imagined was thought through and familiar breaks down, becomes irrelevant, how things and beings exist, and what being looks like, in this new time requires to be reimagined. 

Brosch talks about the importance of deconstruction to the process of constructing her thinking and performance, to test the limits and habits of thinking. I understand this to mean the unmooring of thinking from its existing sclerotic references and concepts, by releasing a series of new imagery. 

A start to reimagine this new topology is through celebrating the break with the Eurocentric male order, by breaking binary opposition of the sexes, where there is instead a blurring, mutation and expanded possibilities of human beings, this puts into question the terms and categories at our disposal, where what exists can only be evoked.

How does Brosch assemble her new Diane and new Goddess?

The setting for imagining this new Diane is the 17th Century Musee de la Chasse. The narrative is organised by the movement through the Museums rooms, where the displays of each room, paintings, sculptures, weapons, musical instruments, stuffed animals, animal skins, tapestries acts as props, trappings, backdrops for a series of tableaus, often arranged frontally like a picture, going from one static arrangement to the next.

The film starts fully formed within the rooms of the Museum. And as with previous films by Iris Brosch the material of her art are very beautiful naked young people, often women, living sculptures and works of art. Their first appearance is as a group of naked warriors, and this group of interlinked women and men, are developed throughout in a constant changing pattern. All the tribes of women come together, so that not only are we witness to the evocation and enactment of warriors from Africa, North and South American, amazons from ancient Greece, we are also watching the slowly changing mutating construction of a new creature, where it is difficult to differentiate individuals from the group. So what is this group and who is Diane?

The language of the performance is set out from the beginning. Central is the notion of the hypnotic image. A spell, a type of setting, a type of picture, which pulls the viewer’s attention into the work and doesn’t release the viewer until it is finished, while influencing other work and space around it. This is complimented inside the image by the looks, expressions and gestures of the women, triggering enchantment, puncturing the veneer of the everyday, momentarily transporting us somewhere else. Each new pattern and configuration of bodies, with each new prop, animal pelt, black thigh high shiny boots, jewellery, hair design, makes that image even more full and luxurious, while at the same time celebrating and enhancing the sheer beauty and voluptuousness of the naked bodies.

Not only do these warriors carry spears, bows and arrows, flint lock rifles, in each scene the women are entwined with animal skins, animal trophies, stuffed stags and boars, animals linked to Diana. Sometimes the women imitate the movement of the animals, and quite often wear their skins to partially cover their naked bodies not only as trophies to celebrate their prowess but also by way of linking them to the spirit of the animal, so you sense there is a shamanistic ritual taking place, rituals to raise the dead animal. If we go along with this we can witness the building of further attributes of the female, a sort of aching fierce perfect physical form, aristocratic poise and dignity, princely and queenly qualities.

In the slowly changing configuration and patterns of human and animal parts from setting to setting, and from frame to frame, the notion of the extra, the addition and the difference to signal a new time a new space a new body is evoked, where the notion of animal and human become confused, but so does male and female. If we go one step further then the notion of animal and female break down, not to erode the female and the animal but to rethink and reimagine their being. This takes us deeper into existence, into being, coexistence and submergence into everything, in other words pure Immanence. Here we start to understand what is happening. Civilization as the site primarily and exclusively for the human is dissolved and another site for being is conjured up, this is what I understand by Brosch notion of Diana tracing out a vision of living beyond civilization within nature.

This seems to be particularly evident in the ornate hair arrangement worn by the women throughout the performance, and that seems to constantly mutate, whether in the form of a crown, classical headdress, branches, antlers, snakes; matched in several scenes by women moving small antlers around their bodies, that seem to both mirror internal organs and adding new attributes to the body. So we have a sense of motion. This to me has the appearance of the extra, the difference, which marks the new Diana, the new goddess, a new being, thinking physically mutating into new forms. So we imagine that the human form merging into being not arriving at the end of physical and psychical development but is instead at the threshold of further mutations, where this constant mutating unlocks the notion of something finished and completed, forms that allow us to try to imagine new capacities of the body, growing new organs, suggestions of capillaries spreading out into new regions of thinking and sensations. In other words, and I don’t think this is farfetched, we are taken to the very edge of thinking, of what is possible, of what can be imagined, where limitations are broken and we are pushed out to imagine the unthinkable.

 

Imagista’s exclusive interview with Iris Brosch.

Imagista: How did this project come in fruition?

Iris Brosch: This project was a collaboration between the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature (paris) and the Magazine Normal, which isq fine art nude magazine.

Imagista: What was the inspiration and why the title :“Diane La Chasseresse”?

Irish Brosch: “Diane La Chasseresse” is actually a shorten titled, the full and original title is “After the catastrophes, Diane la Chasseresse”.
In ancient mythology, Diane was the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and the nature. Nature being associated with wild animals and woodland. She had the power to talk to animals. “After the catastrophe” refers to our times and to the renaissance of the female energy. My intention was to create a modern Diane. A goddess of hunting and war, a goddess which protects and punishes. A woman who can both protect and hunt at the same time. She is strong, loves nature and cares about it. Diane is a feminine figure represented in the male universe of hunting. She lives in the middle of the dark forest, far away from any kind of civilization and she’s is not afraid of descending deep down into the obscurity of the forest. You can see her appearing close to a lake or a river in the nights, there you can find her where you rarely see any human being, and her light is shining! She is graceful, wild, and free!

Imagista: What do you want the women in this series to convey?
Iris Brosch: Women have the power to heal this planet, we are the modern reincarnations of Diane! We are living goddesses, able to protect the earth and nature just like she did. If we unite and support each other I think we can abolish this male system of destruction and control. However I do not wish to exclude men, they are more than welcome and accepted in the world of Diane as long as they wish to understand, collaborate and also get in touch with their more feminine side.
I want to push women to be more free from the limitation of what society has pushed on women for centuries, where our position was reduced to the one of decoration and we had to adapt to the male system. It is time to create our own system, where nature and animals are living in harmony together with the human beings, far away from the exploitation and destruction of nature. Women have the potential to heal the planet, we should raise ourselves from the male dominated system, where we end up only like a trophy on a plate, as a “nature morte de gibiers”and instead accept each other differences, color or gender. I want to convey to women this sense of unity that is needed in order to be more powerful.

Imagista: What was the casting process like?
Iris Brosch: In the beginning I was thinking to only cast women for the project . But I immediately changed my mind when a transgender model came to me under the pseudonym “Black Geisha” and decided to also include transgender in the project. For me it really made sense because in the end gender is not important, what is more important is the female spirit and the protection of nature.
It wasn’t easy to make this idea of change accepted but it was, I believe, an important decision as I don’t want to be restricted by the idea of gender binary.
It was also important to cast a large diversity of women, wether from size or color because I wanted to create a feeling of inclusion and equality. All women are beautiful and could represent Diane.

Imagista: Did anything surprise you about the outcome of this series?
Iris Brosch: Yes, the power of the black models! I planed to have a mixed ethnicity casting, but I did not planed to have such a powerful representation of black women.
All the black models were really happy to be part of this project in the Musee de la chase et nature which is located in the center of Paris.
There was some kind synergy once together which was the expression of their happiness to be finally included in a project of a Parisian Museum.
However I had some issues with the fact that I choose black women to represent Diane, especially in this hunting museum. Indeed France has a long history of unresolved issues with colonization which result into racism. It was important for me to include them in this project as I wanted to bring this image of unity and equality, of all women being able to fill the aura of Diane The Hunter, of women being strong and independent.

TEAM CREDITS
Photography by Iris Brosch

Set Designer and  Production Stephane Blanc


Styliste, Britta Uschkamp


Hair, Dorah Doredte assisted by Christophe Pastel


Makeup, Walter Denechere  assisted by Anna Delcroix


Retouche Juliette Gagnadre, Assistants, Mahé Elipe, Jennifer Schubert 
Video Robin Deledicque,

Backstage, Guillaume Delecroix, Laura Mateu, Katalin Szaraz


Models:, Andja Lorein, Cassandre Dragon, Senta Schnabl, Annaelle Duguet, Alix Meier Watjen, Fanny Beladonna, Raphael Lourel, Alexia Ranguin, Alayrangues Zoe, Rebecca Maraki, Sateaurelie BogaHaute

Jewellery: Julien Fournié

Haute Couture Accesoires Anggy Haif

Shoe design: Larare 

Special thanks to Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Claude  d’Anthenaise  & Marie Christine Pestat et Ugo Deslandes & Karen Chastagnol.