Being alone is horrible and socially unacceptable. This is what the photographs of Sarah Claudon tell us. Conditioning brings frustration and we must escape this by any means necessary.
It is strange that the word lonely does not suffice in itself. Lonely is not found in unity, it is being one without the rest. Solitude inevitably implies the concept of others. So, to be alone is to be without others. But man is a social animal. If he tries to live without company, his attitude will be judged amoral, almost unnatural. Because society doesn't bear that one goes beyond the propriety it has defined.
To deviate from its principles is to be exposed to the difficulty, to rejection. There are a variety of ways not to be alone. The ideal manner, which is arranged, is the couple. The couple involves love in its romantic sense, dinner for two, romantic vacations, beds large enough for two, marriage, children... The couple is perfection. To live well socially you thus need a partner. Absolutely.
In her photos, Sarah Claudon stages diverse situations of everyday life. Next to her, always faithful and available, is her partner... an inflatable doll. "This work arose from an observation with regard to certain of my relationships with others, and by observing my family and friends. Sometimes, the fear of being alone can lead us to group together by spite. Not that I claim to celibacy, I just want that we discus a little more the substance of the matter. I have seen people 'consume' an incredible number of other people so that they would not be alone, renewing these experiences to infinity until they found the right one. That is to say an image of fantasy that in fact does not exist.".
Because the couple also feeds each individual, to answer the lack by the complementarity. What is better then to satisfy oneself than an inflatable doll? Discreet, never contradictory, always there when you need it. It can fill almost any desire. That it has no desires, nor point of view pushes aside conflict and brings peace. "We are all, at some point of our life, somebody else's inflatable doll. This series speaks about modern solitude, but also about interchangeability of people and about this capacity which we have to be never satisfied with anything".
If she choses absurdity as a mode of expression, it is to better highlight the violence of what urges us to be linked with others in the only prospect of fleeing our own anxieties. It's presence is indispensable but the approach is selfish. And if ever guilt or uneasiness came to assail our conscience, it would always be used to reassure us. Every repeated gesture is a consolation and a way to forget. The series of Sarah Claudon is the illustration of this comforting routine. She represents the couple in their car, in the restaurant, watching TV, at the cinema, on the beach or in the bathroom.
The foreground and natural light are quasi-constant components. The photographer plays with the technical repetition to add to the constancy of the relationship. Boredom is also present but strangely adds nothing tragic. It seems to arise from some form of normalcy.
Regarding this matter, at the beginning of the series Sarah Claudon quotes Henri Leclerc in Liberation of January 28-29th, 2006 "Only the habit which corrupts indignation prevents us from spending our life screaming." All is well, together and comfortable in the custom. And yet, in what one can imagine as the last image of the series, the author digs a hole in the sand to conceal the body of it's partner, that she has doubtlessly just murdered. Disturbing and tragic, the series of Sarah Claudon confronts with our contradictions and reveals a simple message as the title states "I am never happy".