Line Rosenvinge

Intro text for book "avoir l'air " .A nifca publication 2002 

On Colonel´s philosophy, complexity is not some abstract element, hard to get one's mind round, but a dynamic element, charged with creative potential. He appropriates public space in dual roles - both as observer and producer. In accosting passers-by or staging interactions he invites his casually recruited cast to have their say.and sometimes we reveal more than we intend.

Both originator and catalyst, Colonel documents his public and involves them. His medium is the public arena of the mass media: the daily newspapers, a variety of other publications and not least television, are the chosen bearers of his projects. Through his lens they figure as spatial domains lending themselves to occupation - or, to pursue a different metaphor, they are laboratories, where the artist develops his exposures: individuals who chance to get caught up in the projects are pigments or elementary particles, raw material for the laboratory technician.

When screened at prime time, Colonel's productions attract an audience in the order of 350,000 Danish viewers - far surpassing that mustered by an ordinary gallery or medium-sized art museum. Colonel's TV productions communicate at different levels, going far beyond the role of unlisted entertainment spots filling out the chinks between billed programmes. Those with some knowledge of art can pick up references to Duchamp and others, and indeed, a rich array of allusions unfolds once the viewer begins to decode the clothes Colonel's attired himself in, not infrequently embellished with photo transfers from earlier projects. The captions too are invariably statements in their own right.

The deployment of a wide spectrum of public media is thus part of a deliberate strategy. With mobility as one of his key focuses, alongside his prized fluidity, Colonel conceives of his work as the practice of conclusionism - the using, classifying and interpreting both media images and the work of other artists in the spontaneous forging of collages.

Colonel's productions are in continuing flux, a confluence of previously-used (plus extraneous) elements, swelling the store of archived material. Fresh strata accrue - mediating archaeological dimensions. New projects emerge from the melding of earlier material, now pressed into other moulds and juxtaposed by fresh realities. This results in Colonel's work almost always manifesting the retrospective and the topical in tandem.

The projects are borne by Colonel's persona, itself metamorphic, his guises spanning, amongst others, Professional Tourist, Active Immigrant, father of three and Dippy [or Funny?] Scientist. This procession of personae is directly correlated to the artist's private trajectory, which unfolds not in parallel but as incorporated into Colonel's productions. Colonel's constructions involve in equal part his feeling his way into a scenario and living it out, form following fiction - inspired by faction's execution of "a takeover of reality" to quote Jeffrey Deitch who, in 2001, introduced the concept of Form Follows Fiction in his curatorship of an exhibition so named.

"Colonel" is Thierry Geoffroy's elected nom-de-guerre. Colonel's father held the rank of captain and was posted in Algeria. Now, by means of his own annexation strategies Colonel, for his part, invades the worlds of media. First, as Professional Tourist in countries such as India, Africa, China and Denmark (the last-named hailed by Colonel as "my most exotic destination"); then as Active Immigrant - often with the camera as a vade mecum - unmasking attitudes, his own and ours, and occasionally peeling away the 'mask' of clothes too.

Whereas his father was a colonialist, Colonel opts for the touristic capture of foreign territory, launching incursions into wide tracts of the media. Over time he's become a master of camouflage: Colonel is not avant-garde but arrière-garde. How so? Qua under cover agent, stand-up comedian, joker, anthropologist, press photographer, private individual.artist. Where? In the street, the media.the art world. The present instant finds you reading a book about him, but the course of his future trajectories remains uncharted. The irony, however, is that while specializing in the art of camouflage, the sort of exposure that his work involves means that Colonel is eminently visible.