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Cyril Danakil - A wild side

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Having started his work as a photographer through the exploration of the extremes of adolescence, Artist Cyril Danakil is today the author of several music videos. Fascinated by the darkness of life and the related imagery, this photographer / director reveals a reality that has nothing to want for fiction.  

Artist Cyril Danakil is not is real name. Danakil is the name of the last tribe to have been listed on the land of the same name, between Djibouti, Ethiopia and Érythrée. If he chose this pen name it is because the wild side attracted him very much. Working for several magazines, he then became interested in teenage tribes in the extreme sense. He worked with skaters and created a clip inspired by the atmosphere of the eighties. He immerses himself totally into the punk way of life living on the streets or in squats with their dogs. He traverses the dark environments of drug addicts.

© Cyril DanakilThese various works led him to explore the universe of the gilded youth, which without complex defines a vision justified in and of itself. He then created Nappy, a docu-drama composed of several short films dedicated to the lives of the teens of western Paris.

Nappy, for the cities of Neuilly, Auteuil, and Passy, tells of brilliant, proud problem free lives. Raised in luxury, most aspire only to stay there. But there are others who see this ideal as a dead end. Devoid of purpose, it does not belong to them anymore. The only thing left is self-destruction.

© Cyril DanakilIt is a pattern that Inès falls into.  Every night, she sinks a little further into the downward spiral of drugs. Fascinated by despair and the incongruity of  her situation, Cyril Danakil looks closely at her life. He passes nights with her while discretely trying to build a real human relationship. Camera in hand, he captures the pain and the destruction of her drug use which is her only way of dealing with this life. From this experience was born the series The despair of those have everything. Marked by very rigid aesthetics, Danakil returns in the opposition of the images he wished to make in regards to advertising images that are very smooth and colorful. It is because he also works with the academic community that he can afford to thwart codes which he knows very well.

At the same time, the photographer has directed music videos. He imagined the images of Reaction for The Penelopes. We see a woman in search of what we shall learn to be a skeleton. A candle in hand, she advances through a forest flooded in the mysterious darkness of twilight. Last year, he directed the video of Demian for The Micronauts. Much more minimalist, we see a young girl with an almost naked torso, dancing at an unusual rythym. Shot with a special camera, these images offer us a slow motion view which the human eye normally can not perceive. Recently, Danakil has exercised his creative talents for Mirwais. Only a lunar atmosphere is revealed at the moment however. The work is a work in progress.

On the contemporary art side, this multiple faceted artist is not slowing either. In 2005, the biennial events of Lyon selected him to do the film-announcement for the event with the theme The Experiment of duration. In 2006 his photos were selected by French Art Is Not Dead with the works of seven other contemporary artists. In 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Art ( MOCA) of Shanghai exhibited a video installation and a series of photos of his creations. Last month, he was on exhibit at the gallery 208 for The despair of those who have everything and We shall be the last ones, a more abstract series questioning the nature of the human animal and his evolution.  

© Cyril Danakil               © Cyril Danakil
Portfolio by Cyril Danakil


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