Veronica, my life 1995 - 1997

When I met Artus in 2009, while he was preparing a new series of large black and white drawings for an exhibition, I was struck by the amount of slides he kept in the metal drawers under his desk. Everything was classified, listed, numbered and although I had always come across Artus with his Leica, it was obvious to me for the first time that he was indeed, and perhaps above all, a photographer.

On the light table, on which he also makes most of his drawings, he showed me several photo series linked to different moments in his life. It’s the one about Veronica, his American ex-wife, that I particularly liked. Essentially made up of deeply intimate and candid portraits, this series already titled Veronica - my life acts as the revealer of an era, but also as a form of visual autobiography in which Artus documents himself and those close to him.

These photographs also correspond to the period during which he made the decision to become an artist. From that moment, he abandoned the idea of painting or making comics and chose another path: that of documenting his life or “archiving his life” as he would say later, that is to say having a practice, whatever the medium used which allows him to share with the greatest number and by all means. He is a photographer for the skateboard magazine Tricks which he co-founded when he began photographing the other side - not skate figures, but what happens to him in his everyday life.

He then begins to project his images to people and friends passing through in his small 15m2, in the form of a slideshow set to music, most often the Withey Album of Sonic Youth. As he explains to me when I decide to reactivate this first slide show Veronica - my life 1995-1997, he had chosen the slide format for lack of time and money, and the slide show because it was then impossible for him to view/look at his images on a light table "because of his cats".

In total, there are more than 200 slides produced between the mid to late 1990s, also compiled as a self-published book, which have never been released to the general public. That’s the reason why I decided to share them here on the Deadpan Foundation website. On November 1, 2020, Artus inserted the slide carts into his old Leica Pradovit 150 projector, in the fully reconstructed room, and agreed to comment on his images. It is an extract of this version of the slideshow, somewhat reworked and expanded, that is available here.

All images ©Artus de Lavilléon ©Deadpan Foundation