Lagrange (1957-2015) was born in Kinshasa, Congo. His career path led him from engineering to photography, and his creativity from fashion to art. Privileging analog over digital, the Antwerp-based Belgian artist searched for intimacy and emotion as opposed to artificial effects. His giant Polaroids, which have been exhibited worldwide, are a powerful example of his craft as well as his attention to detail: he displayed the texture of skin, highlight natural curves and make his models stand out. Lagrange elaborated entire sets until he found the exact mood he wished to convey, with the end goal being to create the images he wanted. From the color of the walls to the shape of a chair, every single detail counted, underlining Lagrange’s perfectionist streak and his willingness to unfold narratives.
Throughout his career, Lagrange had photographed the same women over different periods of time, turning them into his muses. Inge Van Bruystegem – a striking model and talented dancer – was one of them. Lagrange had worked with her for over fifteen years and developed a privileged relationship. The trust that had flourished between them over the years was quite rare in photography and generated surprising results. Individuals who posed in front of Lagrange’s lens ended up spontaneously performing and revealing more about themselves than they perhaps intended. One thing Lagrange respected was the mystery and power of women: even fully nude, his models were confident and in control; true protagonists as opposed to passive figures.
Marc Lagrange’s work has been honored with several exhibitions in Europe and the United States. In 2011, Maison Lagrange introduced more than 240 artworks to the public, many of them previously unseen. The retrospective lasted six months. The following year, his Extra Large Marc Lagrange show in Graz, Austria, spread over 3,000 square meters. Lagrange also participated in Art Miami on a regular basis, and several books have been published under his name, including Polarized by Ludion in 2009 and Marc Lagrange 20 by Lido in 2009. In 2013, Diamonds and Pearls was published by teNeues in 80 countries. The following year, in 2014, he published Hotel Maritime – Room 58, a private edition limited to 300 copies whose content was shown internationally. The atmosphere of Hotel Maritime – Room 58 echoes some of Edward Hopper’s most soulful and alluring paintings. More conceptual than his previous works, it underlined the descriptive quality of his art.
In 2015, a selection of Lagrange’s iconic works was featured at the TEFAF art fair in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Senza Parole, which partly took place in the Italian town of Pietrasanta, coupled with the Handelsbeurs project in Antwerp, Belgium and a Fellini inspired shoot at the baroque loft of Paolo Calia in Paris, these three series are part of this new book.
Marc Lagrange kept looking for singular subjects and unexpected stories, placing humanity at the core of his approach.