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Facebook, jealousy for all?

Dernière mise à jour : 19 nov. 2019

Jenny Rova's poignant and ambiguous photo work around the feeling of jealousy is a singular form of autofiction from facebook.

Jenny Rova: Inventing a new facebook story after the end of the relationship

Jenny Rova: a tinkered image of abscence

After a painful break-up, Swedish visual artist Jenny Rova starts spying on her former boyfriend and her current girlfriend on Facebook. After downloading all the images posted by the couple, she takes pictures of herself by imitating the poses and expressions of her ex-partner's current partner. She sometimes goes so far as to dress like her or imitate her haircut.

For his series and book I would also like to be - a work on jealousy, the visual artist details his approach as follows: "I’m following and spying on my ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. I pursue them on Facebook, downloading all the pictures they have been uploading there of themselves and each other. I’m placing myself in the new girlfriend’s position, imitating her pose, expression and dressing myself in the same outfit. I’m photographing myself in the same light as in the picture of them. The figure of me I glue onto the original picture, covering the girlfriend. In this way I build a dream life of my own on top of theirs. During the process of taking the new girlfriend’s poses, I’m once again, briefly a part of my ex-love’s life and I can imagine how it would be to be her."

Photo montage

With a few scissors strokes, the artist superimposes her self-portraits on the face of her supposed rival and appropriates a life from which she is now excluded. Her work questions the perception of intimate and private photos, once they are published on social networks. But also the unusual feelings they may evoke in the person watching them.

For the visual artist, the break-up triggered an emotional tsunami close to mourning. And leaving in its wake, deep sorrow, misunderstanding and anger. The process is intimate, personal long before it is conceptual. For a year, she collects photos on an old boyfriend's facebook profile with her new girlfriend. She inserts a rough cut of her silhouette or face on this "replacement".

Rupture and tearing

She took care to leave the mark of the tear, like a child who had cut out her face to stick it on another body. So there's a false connection, injury and tear. If the approach brings her closer to the chameleon photographer of autofiction, Sophie Calle, she criticizes in hollow the affective grammar often fake social networks and refigures it by shifting it from "images of revenge".

In her eyes, they impose the often fake likes regime, "where you must be the best friend in a community based on mutual respect, exchange, love and friendship as absolute values". Therefore, jealousy is "a source of shame, revealing itself in an aggressive and invasive way on the net", emphasizes this lucid skinned woman. Her work also reflects the emptiness, the unfathomable boredom and the repetition of the same generic holiday scenes emanating from a couple's life put into images on facebook.

Bertrand Tappolet

#JennyRova #Iwouldalsoliketobeaworkonjealousy #facebook #SophieCalle


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