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Chrystel Lebas


Sleep 1997
I began to look at sleep.
The image of a sleeping person raises the question: is it an image of sleep or death, of the process of dreaming or dying?
This body of work was inspired by the scientific experiments of Dr Hippolyte Baraduc in the mid-19th century: after the hysteric and the child, Dr Baraduc started
photographing a sleeping priest in order to complete his research on Auras.
Baraduc took photographs whilst the priest was sleeping, in the dark, placing the camera above the priest’s head.
The result was a complex ‘thick black cloud’, a ghost of the night, which he then interpreted according to his criteria as ‘the Aura of a nightmare’.

Several persons were subjected to this very ritual.
Following a frugal meal they were invited to take a rest on the sofa. After waiting a moment until sleep had overtaken them,
I would come into the room and listen for the slow breathing, the sign that the subject was now asleep, and which meant I take my one picture.


Gelatin Silver prints from Black & White negatives, 80 x 103 cm


Sleep - Viviane - London - 1997
Sleep - Emma - London - 1997
Sleep - Anna-Maria - London - 1997
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