The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard – Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我

What first caught my attention was a photograph taken in 1944. A handsome young man addresses me confidently through the camera. The image is black and white but the dress he’s wearing – floor-length, full-skirted, with a satin sheen – is clearly striped in bright hoops of colour. Its style is more 19th century than mid-20th; the setting a country lane in the sunshine. Earlier in the year, this same young man had adopted a more conventionally photogenic pose, leaning back and gazing away from the camera, like a female movie-star in a publicity still. That time he was safely indoors, in what looks to be an un-staged corner of a photographic studio.


The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我

Self-portrait of Marcel Bascoulard, 1944


The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我

Self-portrait of Marcel Bascoulard, 1944

These two images are amongst the earliest of a series of self-portraits Marcel Bascoulard made compulsively until his death (in 1978 at the age of 64), in or around the town of Bourges, in central France. During war-time occupation, Bascoulard was arrested at least twice by Nazi soldiers, only to be released without charge; accounts suggest they may have been unnerved by his strangeness, a prominent aspect of which was his seeming indifference to them. Bascoulard lived always on his own idiosyncratic terms, apparently unconcerned with the opinion of others.

Though the subject of these two photographs, Bascoulard is also their maker; the camera is his own (though a friend is operating it for him), and the intentions likewise. Six months elapsed between them being taken and Bascoulard’s sense of what he wants these images to address, and how, appears to have evolved. While his stance in the earlier picture is self-consciously feminine – a performance, in a private space – the later photograph is unapologetically of a man in a dress, out in the countryside for all the world to see. He seems more concerned now with straightforwardly recording a moment than with conforming to an established (gendered) aesthetic. ‘This is me, in this dress,’ Bascoulard seems to be saying. And nothing more.

This approach – directly addressing the camera, devoid of posturing – was to prove characteristic. Though the costumes change over the decades (Bascoulard designed them himself and had them made) the form of the photographs doesn’t, suggesting that, while something is being developed, something else is stuck in reiteration, both seeking and resisting resolution. Denying himself money and possessions, Bascoulard lived as a clochard – a vagrant – in a succession of slum lodgings or improvised shacks (the last of which was a rusting lorry-cab in the corner of a field), never washing or changing his clothes. In this way he spent his whole life in the one small community, known to everyone while remaining insistently alone.

He had trained as an artist and been exhibited once, in Paris. Known for his landscape drawings – which, at their best, are vital with the commonplace – he chose to sell only the most conventional: souvenir pictures of the town’s cathedral and mediaeval streets. He showed his photographic self-portraits to his friends, some of whom still live in the area. ‘Monsieur Bascoulard’ they call him reverently, even lovingly, as they explain to me that he only dressed up for the camera. According to an official report of an incident in 1952, when he was arrested for walking the streets in the ‘wrong’ kind of clothing, he told the police: ‘It’s an artistic necessity.’ He was seeking to avoid charges, but in the process provided his one explicit statement as to what he considered the photographs to be: Art.

They fall into three distinct phases. In the first, made during the 1940s, the youthfully lean and bright-eyed Bascoulard is radiantly self-assured, dressed as his grandmother might have been when she was his age and on her way to a party.

In the second (from the 1950s to ’60s), a more matronly Bascoulard continues to emulate an earlier generation: a middle-aged schoolteacher; a shopkeeper; a spinster aunt. Dutiful domestic service is evoked by aprons, sometimes worn incongruously over satin. While these images celebrate the mundane respectability of pre-war small-town life, the man who made them lived in squalor and stench. Looking at us quizzically, a piece of mirror always in hand – reading variously as a fan, a book or a machete – he is in his 40s now and bulking up. A bourgeois housewife prize-fighter.


The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我

Marcel Bascoulard, Sans titre, 23 janvier 1958, 1958, gelatin silver print, 11 x 8 cm. Courtesy: Pinault Collection © Galerie Christophe Gaillard


The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我

Self-portrait of Marcel Bascoulard, 1959

Often, in this middle phase of the photographs, he seems too tightly wrapped – a chrysalis – and in the final phase (which takes us into the 1970s) emerges as a massive gravity-bound butterfly. He had always liked materials with a sheen and now it’s vinyl, the folds of which take on increasingly structural forms (sometimes as stiff and as gleaming as samurai armour). And the man himself? He looks a little doubtful at times, or a little impatient, his head and shoulders often dipping in a kind of curtsey. Is it a supplication? Or is he poised to go in for the kill? He has the battered and embattled look of a boxer.


The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我

Self-portrait of Marcel Bascoulard, 1972


The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我

Self-portrait of Marcel Bascoulard, c. late-1960s


The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我

Self-portrait of Marcel Bascoulard, c. early 1970s

In one picture (it’s undated but looks to be from his final years) he’s wearing a simple white smock, standing in an interior doorway. The wallpaper is unprecedented; it feels like someone’s home rather than a studio. I have the surprising sense of another person’s presence (he’s always seemed alone before, even though someone was operating the camera), and this suggests a narrative. It’s as if he’s asked a question and awaits our answer: it might be whether we want a cup of tea. I don’t think it’s whether we want a fuck: Bascoulard’s self-portraits are resolutely asexual. ‘There’s nothing to be afraid of,’ he seems to be saying, ‘however transgressive this might appear.’ In 1932, when Bascoulard was 19, his mother shot his father dead. She spent the rest of her life in a lunatic asylum. Does the paradoxically reassuring atmosphere of these images mask an intimation that women may not necessarily be as benign as convention suggests, or men necessarily as dangerous?

In the final photographs the juxtaposition of an undisguisedly male person with clothing conventionally regarded as female has evolved so that both the person and the costume seem imbued with a mix of masculine and feminine qualities. (Unless this is to observe only how we all, in ageing, tend to reassume the androgyny of adolescence.)

Bascoulard struggled to emerge from a traumatic childhood into a singular adulthood. In making these images is he seeking to ameliorate a sense of discomfort or to examine it? Is he trying to reconcile his mother and his father, or the masculine and feminine aspects of himself? And if so, does he succeed? In the early images his presentation to the camera seems a victory in itself, but the later ones are increasingly shadowed by a sense that the weariness of compulsion has overtaken the energy from which compulsion springs.

That his mother killed his father suggests a couple overly preoccupied with one another and unlikely to have much time for their children. Ultimately, for me, these mysterious self-portraits read as images of self-sufficiency. ‘I am all I need in one,’ he seems to be saying, ‘You offer nothing. I only want you to see. To know I’m here. And not to forget.’

It didn’t end well. Like his father, Bascoulard was murdered. A young man – one of a number of troubled local youths Bascoulard had been seeking to help – confessed and was convicted. But none of the people I’ve spoken to, who were in Bourges at the time, believe he was the killer.

The murder tends to be what Bascoulard was remembered for. No estate remains. When a monograph was published in 2014, his drawings were meticulously annotated as artworks while his photographs, though well represented, were included more as an aspect of his biography. That’s how I first came to see them, joining the growing number of people to fall for their curious charisma.

Patrick Martinat’s Bascoulard. Dessinateur virtuose, clochard magnifique, femme inventée (Bascoulard. Virtuoso designer, Magnificent Tramp, Invented Woman) was published by Les Cahiers Dessinés in 2014. Monsieur Bascoulard by Bernard Capo was published by BulleBerry éditions in 2013. ‘Un autre monde: Marcel Bascoulard’ was held at Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris, France in 2016.  Several Bascoulard images from the Pinault Collection are included in the exhibition ‘Dancing with Myself’ at the Punta Della Dogana, Venice, Italy, until 16 December 2018.

Main image: Self-portrait of Marcel Bascoulard, 1944

Philip Myall

Philip Myall is a writer and screenwriter who lives in London, UK, and teaches at The University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK. He is currently developing a feature screenplay based on the life of Marcel Bascoulard.

Picture Piece /

Marcel Bascoulard
Phillip Myall
Pinault Collection

首先引起我注意的是一张1944拍摄的照片。一个英俊的年轻人通过摄像机自信地向我讲话。照片是黑白相间的,但是他穿的裙子——地板长,全裙子,缎子光泽——明显地镶有鲜艳的花环。它的风格比十九世纪中旬还要多;在阳光下设置一条乡间小巷。今年早些时候,这个年轻人采取了更传统的拍照姿势,向后仰,目不转睛地盯着镜头,就像一个女电影明星在公开场合一样。那一次,他安全地呆在室内,看上去像是摄影棚的一个非舞台角落。1_oct44.jpg The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我 Marcel Bascoulard自画像,1944年2bascoulard_sanstitre_5.jpg The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我 Marcel Bascoulard自画像这是马塞尔·巴斯库拉德被迫拍摄的一系列自画像中最大的一幅,直到他去世(1978年,64岁),在法国中部的布鲁士镇或其附近。在战时占领期间,巴斯库拉德至少两次被纳粹士兵逮捕,但被无罪释放;据传闻,他们可能对他的奇怪感到不安,其中一个突出的方面是他似乎对他们漠不关心。巴斯卡尔生活在他自己独特的条件下,显然不关心别人的意见。虽然这两张照片的主题,巴斯库拉德也是他们的制造商,相机是他自己的(虽然一个朋友为他操作),以及意图一样。六个月过去了,在他们被拍摄和巴斯库拉德想要这些图像解决的问题,以及如何发展的感觉之间。虽然他在早期照片中的立场是自我意识的女性化——在私人空间中的表演——但后来的照片毫无歉意地描绘了一个穿着连衣裙的男人,走出乡村让全世界都看到。他现在似乎更关心的是直接地记录片刻,而不是遵从既定的(性别化的)审美观。“这是我,穿着这件衣服,”巴斯卡尔似乎在说。再也没有了。这种直接处理相机的方法,缺乏姿态,是为了证明其特性。虽然几十年来,服装发生了变化(巴斯库拉德亲自设计并制作),但照片的形式却没有变化,这表明,当某些东西正在被开发时,另一些东西仍然在重复,既寻求分辨率,又抵制分辨率。巴斯库拉德不给自己钱财和财产,在一连串的贫民窟住处或临时搭建的棚屋里,像个衣帽匠——一个流浪汉——过着不洗不换衣服的生活。就这样,他在一个小社区里度过了他的一生,每个人都知道,但仍然坚持独处。他曾在巴黎当过艺术家,曾被展览过一次。他以山水画闻名——山水画对于平凡来说至关紧要——他选择只卖最传统的:镇上大教堂和中世纪街道的纪念画。他向朋友们展示了他自己的照片,其中一些人仍然住在这个地区。“Monsieur Bascoulard”他们虔诚地称呼他,甚至亲切地称呼他,因为他们向我解释他只为照相机穿好衣服。根据1952年一起事件的官方报道,当他因穿着“错误”的衣服在街上走而被捕时,他告诉警方:“这是艺术上的需要。”他试图逃避指控,但在此过程中他明确地陈述了自己的罪过。把照片剪成:艺术。它们分为三个不同的阶段。第一部是在20世纪40年代拍摄的,这位年轻又瘦又亮眼的巴斯库拉德自信满满,打扮得像他祖母在他这个年龄时一样,在去参加聚会的路上。在第二个年代(从20世纪50年代到60年代),一个更温顺的巴斯库拉德继续模仿着更早的一代:一个中年教师;一个店主;一个老处女。尽职尽责的家务活是由围裙引起的,有时穿在缎子上不协调。虽然这些图像庆祝战前小城镇生活的世俗尊严,但制造它们的人却生活在肮脏和恶臭之中。好奇地看着我们,手里总是拿着一面镜子——像扇子、书或弯刀一样看各种各样的书——他现在40多岁了,正在发胖。中产阶级家庭主妇的职业拳击手。3bascoulard_sanstitre_4.jpg The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我 Marcel Bascoulard,Sans titre,23janvier 1958,1958,明胶银印,11×8cm。礼貌:皮诺收藏_Galerie Christophe Gaillard 4_sep59.jpg The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我 Marcel Bascoulard的自画像,1959.通常,在照片的中间阶段,他似乎包装得太紧了——一只蛹。在最后阶段(我们进入了20世纪70年代)出现了一个巨大的重力束缚蝴蝶。他一向喜欢有光泽的材料,现在则是乙烯基材料,其褶皱呈现出越来越强的结构形式(有时像武士盔甲一样坚硬,闪烁)。那个人自己呢?他有时看起来有点怀疑,或者有点不耐烦,他的海飞丝经常蘸着一种屈膝礼。这是恳求吗?或者他准备好去杀戮?他有拳击手的拳打脚踢。5.jpg The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我 Marcel Bascoulard自画像,1972 6_late60s.jpg The Mysterious Selfies of Monsieur Bascoulard - Monsieur Bascoulard神秘的自我 Marcel Bascoulard自画像,上世纪60年代末70年代初。7602IMG自画像马塞尔巴斯卡尔,C.70年代初在一张照片中(它未注明日期,但看起来是从他的最后几年),他穿着一件简单的白色罩衫,站在一个内部门口。壁纸是史无前例的,感觉像是某人的家,而不是工作室。我对另一个人的存在有着惊人的感觉(他总是看起来很孤独,即使有人在操作摄像机),这也暗示着一种叙述。就好像他问了一个问题,等待我们的答案:可能是我们想喝杯茶。我不认为这是我们想要的:Bascoulard的自画像是坚决无性的。“没有什么可害怕的,”他似乎在说,“然而,这可能会出现海侵。”1932,当Bascoulard 19岁时,他的母亲开枪打死了他的父亲。她的余生都在疯人院里度过。这些图像的自相矛盾的气氛是否掩饰了一种暗示:女性可能不一定像公约所暗示的那样良性,或者男性必然是危险的?在最后一张照片中,一个毫不掩饰的男性与传统上被认为是女性的服装并列已经演变,使得人物和服装似乎都充满了男性和女性的气质。(除非这只是为了观察我们在老龄化时如何趋向于安抚青春期的双性同体。)巴斯库拉德努力从创伤性的童年走向独特的成年。在制作这些图像时,他是在寻求改善不适感或检查它?他是想调和他的母亲和他的父亲,还是他自己的男性和女性方面?如果是的话,他成功了吗?在早期的画面中,他向摄影机展示的画面本身似乎是一场胜利,但后来的画面越来越被一种感觉所遮蔽,这种感觉是强迫的疲惫已经超过了强迫产生的能量。他的母亲杀了他的父亲,这说明一对夫妇过于专心于彼此,不太可能有太多的时间照顾孩子。最后,对我来说,这些神秘的自画像是自给自足的形象。他说:“我是一个人所需要的一切,你什么也不提供。”我只想让你看看。知道我在这里。别忘了,这并没有很好的结束。像他的父亲一样,Bascoulard被谋杀了。一位年轻人——巴斯库尔德的一些当地问题青年一直在寻求帮助——承认并被判有罪。但是当时我在布尔日的人都不相信他是凶手。凶杀案往往是Bascoulard所记得的。遗产不留。在2014年出版一本专著时,他的绘画被精心地注释为艺术品,而他的照片,虽然表现得很好,却更多地被收录在他的传记中。这就是我第一次见到他们,加入越来越多的人去追求他们奇异的魅力。Patrick Martinat的巴斯卡拉德。Dessinateur virtuose,克洛查德。《设计师》,Magnificent Tramp,发明女性,是由莱斯卡希尔德西辛在2014出版的。Bernard Capo的《Monsieur Bascoulard》于2013出版。“Un autre monde:Marcel Bascoulard”于2016年在法国巴黎Galerie Christophe Gaillard举行。来自皮诺收藏的几幅Bascoulard图像被包括在2018年12月16日之前在意大利威尼斯的蓬塔德拉多加纳举行的“与自己跳舞”展览中。主图:马塞尔·巴斯库拉德的自画像,1944年,菲利普·迈尔·迈尔是一位作家和编剧,住在英国伦敦,在英国法纳姆创意艺术大学任教。他目前正在根据马塞尔·巴斯库拉德的生平创作一部特写剧本。图片集/马塞尔·巴斯库拉德·菲利普·迈尔·皮诺收藏·性别身份肖像摄影


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