Jean-Louis Tornato

Les Sommeils

We all know that we dream. We implicitly know that these virtual mental images in which we confront our fears and desires are fundamental. We often find it hard to recall them when we awake, or to connect them with what we experienced, perhaps many years ago. We tend to invest them with a premonitory value, attempt to domesticate or even reject them. They stand as an invisible obsessive part of our lives and our body that constitutes an enigma. How do we make them visible? What can we show from them? Through the installation of a cunning mechanism –an artefact placed vertically over sleepers whose lens remains open all night– the photographer does not try to show us the images that make up the dream itself: in black and white, using photographic grain that accentuates the dimension of unreality, he takes us to a new mystery, that of dream. An agitation of the body between the sheets that –as the case may be– might produce a sensation of torment or of peacefulness, of tenderness or of bodily tension, of lightness or of confusion of a volume. Jean-Louis takes on the risk of representing himself in a sort of hitherto unknown self-portrait. That is when, among these often awesome greys, we behold both the matter life stems from, and the silence of disappearance.


Born on the south coast of France in 1969, he lives and works between Paris and Tokyo. He studied Art at the University of Aix-en-Provence and, at a later date, took a Master’s research degree in the Artistic Sciences whilst studying at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie de Arles. Since then his work has dealt with artistic investigation, commissioned photography and theoretical commitment within the field of image. In 2004 a monograph of his work, Les sommeils, was published.