ArtParis Puts Photography in the Place of Honor
This year, on March 19-23 2009, artparis sets photography in the place of honor with fifteen galleries invited to participate in a special sector, “artparis photography”, which will unwind like a spool though the corridors of the Grand Palais.
The participating galleries are:
Acte 2, Camera Obscura, Philippe Chaume, Emotion, In Camera, Galerie de L’Instant, CM Art, Nessim Galeria, Obsis, Paris Globe, Paris-Beijing Photo Gallery, Françoise Paviot, Olivier Waltman, Wanted Paris and Esther Woerdehoff.
Numerous other participants also choose to display photography on their stands, making it one of the most represented media at the fair.
Portraits of cities
The essence of photographic work, the city always inspires artists to a great degree, urging them to document its evolution, its fascinating character or its function as a receptacle for multitudes of dreams.
At gallery Philippe Chaume, Floriane de Lassée has been wandering the megalopolises of Paris, New York, Tokyo and Shanghai since 2005. Born in 1972, this young photographer focuses on hyper modern architecture, bringing a strange surrealist quality to them that reminds one of Edward Hopper. Fascinated by their light, she endows these places with a quasi-religious glory, her supersaturated light transfiguring them almost beyond recognition. For the first time ever, the artist Frederick Delangle is showing his series Ahmedabad, named for the eponymous Indian city. Several years ago, France decided to save this huge heritage which is rapidly degenerating, left in the hands of disrespectful bric-à brac traders who attack the precious teak facades of the wooden houses. Frederick Delangle contributes to France’s effort in showing his photos, which have been taken only at night because of overpopulation and the surrounding pollution, testifying to what was, according to him, “the most beautiful and richest city in the world”. For his part, Ambroise Tézenas records the last popular houses of Beijing, “Hutongs,” before they disappear forever. As for Jean-Claude Gautrand, he could be described as a constructivist photographer of architecture. Fascinated by states of construction and deconstruction, he tracks structures in metal- railings, girders or bearing scaffolding, the components of future cities. He has a taste for the high-pitched, the objective and for construction, and he develop a concept of geometry as applied to cities.
Patrick Tourneboeuf, presented by gallery Emotion, is interested in spaces without any human presence, work sites and land left fallow. His subjects are coulisses, construction sites, reservations or places not much visited by the general public. Having taken photos of the Grand Palais while it was under reconstruction, the Versailles Palace and the National Archives, he next chose to focus on the Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture de Paris Val-de-Seine (National School of architecture of Paris, Val-de-Seine). In his photos, these empty and uninhabited sites play roles of decor. But for which game or which stage production? Patrick Tourneboeuf takes pictures that are suspended in time, between a history that is passed and one that is in the process of becoming.
At gallery Françoise Paviot, who also offers us classics such as Cartier-Bresson and Brassaï, the focus at this year’s fair is on the Canadian photographer Barbara Steinman. This photographer claims to be interested in the sociology of space, that is to say, in the manner a place, a museum, an abandoned plant, an art gallery or an open-air theatre are used and perceived. What are the histories of these places, and with what are they encircled? “The work recalls a feeling or a knowledge that the spectator remembers, recognizes or shares”. The purpose of her landscapes, like contemporary vanities, are also to show, in a purified and refined manner, the time which passes, damages, fades. The work is elliptic and conceptual, proposing the vicissitudes of history and the hazards of existence. The gallery’s program is further supplemented by photographs by Dieter Appelt from his series Traces of Memory, which is more centered on the different strata of the body, and works by Mark Ruwedel. Since the 1990s, Ruwedel has been traveling North America in search of sites which reveal traces of human activity, of prehistory which is still evident today. He dedicates several months of the year to the exploration of deserts, plains, hills and riversides and questions the place of man within the natural landscape.
At gallery In Camera, photographs are also the pretext for all kinds of voyages, particularly those that familiarize one with Anglo-Saxon culture. David Fenton thus immortalizes America at the end of the 1960’s with his portraits of the counter culture movement. Photos from his Unknown series by French artist Stéphane Duroy give an emotional portrayal of America as perceived as the land of welcome and a receptacle for the dramas of old Europe. Being interested in exile a more general way, Stephan Duroy left New York, a city which symbolizes the arrival of all immigrants, moving gradually towards the West Coast. He thus follows the natural evolution of the generations who, carrying out this geographical shift, forget their own roots. Many of them being European, he notes with regret, in the end it is a common expatriation with which we all live.
Everything in the world has touched the young photographer Aleix Plademunt, represented at artparis by the new exhibitor Olivier Waltman. His last project led him from China to Japan, the United States to Turkey and from Greece to Mexico. Criticizing the consumerist society that has even marketed the environment, the artist has enjoyed intervening in around thirty places in the world, working with advertising hoardings where the word NADA (nothing) is placed on a blank billboard, translated into the local language of the country. Another series of photos, Espectadores, shows a set of chairs arranged as in a theater, in front of diverse landscapes. The snag, if one looks closely, is that these landscapes are untouched by the presence of people, often decorated with diverse buildings, cables, threads, roads, planes, advertising hoardings or nuclear waste… Nature is most often used, then, as a backdrop for all the settings, which unfortunately most often evokes tragedy.
Founded in Budapest in 2005, gallery Nessim focuses on Hungarian photography and that of Central Europe. Names such as Moholy-Nagy and Kertész form a part of their programming, accompanied by the following generation which is still little-known to the general public. It is therefore necessary to retain these names: Gábor Kerekes, Zsolt Péter Barta and Ladislav Postupa. For the most part, their photos in black and white depart from reality, relying primarily on their structure.
Bernard Dudoignon of the gallery Paris Globe, a newcomer to artparis, puts the spotlight on photographer Erdös Gábor, a Hungarian artist born in 1973 who explores the relationship between the individual and the world. He also presents photos from the series, For the woman who wants to changes her looks, realized by Erwin Blumenfeld for Vogue USA in 1962. Under Blumenfeld’s lens, Victoria Van Hagan moves between being a vamp, a leaning lady and a Madonna.
Paris-Beijing Photo Gallery makes the move of bringing a host of Chinese artists to the fair. Numbering six in total, these artists represents the most common trends in contemporary Chinese photography. Among them, Chen Jiagang realizes large format photos in ochre tones, framed with monumental industrial landscapes, which he immortalizes thanks to the darkroom. Yang Yi is also inspired by urban landscapes, most of them in full decay and which he has imagined as being plunged under the sea. The artist Wen Fang is fascinated by bricks. During the Imperial Era, bricks of gold were meticulously conceived and signed. Today, bricks are fabricated in cement, reproducible, short-lived and reflective of the evolution of the country. The artist thus questions the current identity of China while also honoring its centuries-old culture.
Constance de Malleray of CM Art works between Paris and Moscow. Among those whom she represents, Nikolay Polissky is certainly one of the only Russian artists to have chosen the countryside for his studio, rather than one of the big cities where cultural life flourishes. He intervenes in the landscape with reconstructions of classic architectural forms and reflects that memory through his photos. He has also written that, “the place most secure for my works is in the memory”. Believing that contemporary art is too much removed from the spectacle of nature, he wishes to rehabilitate the rural world. The sculptor Mona Breede, also born in Russia, chooses rectilinear and impressive architecture which she discovers in the United States, in China or in Russia, to serve as the backdrops for the human comedy which parades indefatigably in those places.
… Portraits of Lives
Gallery Acte 2 specializes in fashion photography. Two photographers in particular will be spotlighted on their stand. Steven Klein began by working for the magazines Vogue, Vanity Fair and The Face, making himself known for his strong colors and unusual settings. Stars and models alike have been thrilled to be included in his signature baroque trash universe. His photos are not simple pictures of fashion or insipid publicity campaigns but rather images that plunge one into a veritable scenario where violence, submission and sexual ambiguity meld together. Steven Klein thus glorifies his models, conferring strong personalities on them that shatter our images. Very much inspired by the equestrian universe, he dedicated a series to this animal fetish, merging elegance, character, strength and delicacy – the qualities that he holds in esteem. This series will be shown during the fair, accompanied by work by Michel Comte. Compte had been a restaurant owner before becoming a photographer, thus also explaining his predilection for the nude as subject matter. Having worked for Vogue, Vanity Fair and numerous campaigns since 1979, he has also photographed many figures from the world of art and cinema. His personal touch adds profound interest and an exploration continually renewed by the human, reflected by his portraits that have transformed so many people into icons.
Gallery Camera Obscura puts a spotlight on artists whom one rarely sees presented. One example is Paolo Roversi who has become one of the most sought after fashion photographers of the last decades. Cultivating his blacks and whites in serious settings devoid of any décor, he is a photographer of severe beauty, almost brutal in its qualities. His nudes look out at us in total honesty with an intense and captivating look in their eyes. His images seem to be a-temporal and engrave themselves in the spectator’s memory despite his economy of means. Sarah Moon, who has an immediately identifiable style, will also be displayed on the gallery stand. Her blurry images are legendary, her refined settings also evoking a certain nostalgia for childhood. Beautiful and poetic, the images nevertheless call forth the idea of a world always threatened by its own loss. Sarah Moon first came to the public’s attention thanks to her publicity shots for Cacharel and more recently for Comme des Garcons, images from which will be on display at the fair.
There are just a few steps from fashion to the cinema, which are easily traversed by gallery Obsis who puts an emphasis on photography of the cinema, bringing us back to the 1920’s when the great figures of Hollywood created their own departments of photography. In Europe, the means turned out to be a little less plentiful and specialized photographers were taken on here and there. But a new genre had been born. The particularity and the paradox of stage photography is that it was designed to look like instantaneous although in the majority of cases it was conceived as a pose, as in a still life. On the contrary, this kind of work-photography, also presented by the gallery, appeared to capture the reality of a film in the process of being made. This is in evidence through the examples of Buster Keaton, immortalized in his studio in 1932, Serge Eisenstein, shot on the set of La ligne générale, as well as through an image from the film, Mountain Justice by Michael Curtis.
The young Galerie de l’Instant brings a selection of photos of cinema stars to the fair. François Gragnan immortalized these stars of the era in the 1960’s and 70’s: Jane Birkin, Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Juliette Gréco, Simone Signoret, Romy Schneider, Sophia Loren, among so many others… And among the men were those such as Alain Delon, Johnny Hallyday and Steve McQueen. Most of them found themselves at some point in time under the flash bulbs of Giancarlo Botti. Many of the images were taken at Cannes during film shoots and conform to the most glorious images we could have of the 7th art. Bert Stein was spotlighted together with Marilyn Monroe in La Dernière séance where glamour, sensuality and beauty came to the fore, not knowing at the time, however, that she would become the most celebrated blond alive.
At Esther Woerderhoff, the German photographer Herlinde Koebl focuses her lens on hair. Having studied drawing and fashion, she turned to photography in 1975, mixing a curiosity about people with a critical analysis of society. She published numerous images which are perceived as a mirror for life in Germany and a mordant commentary on contemporary history. The fair will be the occasion to discover her last title, Hair. For Herlinde Koebl, hair and the contact which we develop them is a part of our humanity which accompanies us from birth to death. Our relationship with hair is among the most intimate and sensual which exists. This publication is the fruit of a voyage across five continents during six years that has permitted her to identify and to show the social and cultures roles of the world of hair.
… more photography, beyond the corridors of “artparis photography”
David LaChapelle heats up the stand of gallery Maruani & Noirhomme. According to legend, his first model was that of his mother, wearing a bikini and holding a martini in her hand… and his vocation was born! His inimitable style, characterized by extremely bright colors and outrageous burlesque settings has earned him great success. He risks showing everything: sex, drugs and alcohol. Even top stars don’t resist his wiles, accepting the most risqué scenarios. For example, Angelina Jolie is ecstatic when Pamela Anderson or Paris Hilton – personifications of the Barbie doll – are drawn into the most outrageous and exciting situations one can imagine. The photos exhibited at artparis testify to the limitless imagination of LaChapelle’s imagination: mountains of candies which form a mosque, a personalize version of the Déluge (decorated with a array of arrogant bosoms), and further, for the pleasure of all the ladies, 72 dolls symbolizing veiled virgins who have taken a nearly naked gentleman hostage, of whom we would like to be in charge. Having fun and delivering messages at the same time, this is David LaChapelle’s style. As he would remind us, “If we want to photograph a girl sitting on a mushroom, it is much more fun to create the mushroom and to sit her on top of it than to fabricate it on a computer. And if we want to photograph a naked girl sitting on a monkey in the middle of Times Square, it is the same principle.”
For Françoise Huguier at gallery Patrice Trigano, the body is like a rooster, humorous in its association. It appears as red and black, it is overwhelming. It is big and fat and takes pleasure in being so. The body is oiled. It approaches at close quarters. Women like fairies floating in the grass, go and get yourselves ready or you won’t count among the models of Francoise Hugier! Transgressive in her choice of models and settings, at artparis she reveals a portrait of a brothel where “the three beauties cross the mirror to take refuge in the Indian lounge from which escapes the sound of music, caresses and kisses.. “. Françoise Huguier wonders who these dames are, so majestic, powerful, sensual and totally available? They appear to be the ladies of the house.
The young artist Thiphaine Popesco (born in 1982) at gallery Vidal-Saint Phalle presents a much more distanced version of the body, as she invites her models to merge with the decor. Isolated figures, abandoned bodies, they reflect solitude, lassiscitude and boredom. Taken in aesthetic terms, their nudity permits them to regain their sculptural dimension. “The staging of these bodies is even more accentuated by my choice of black and white and the perspective effects,” comments Tiphaine Popesco. “In my photos,“ she explains, “another theme appears: the loss of ones sense of direction, of place. Placed in their ‘natural environment,’ and sometime in complicated and unusual poses, models are like stage dolls, controlled by an exterior power.
Gallery Protée presents the Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi who aims her eye at the isolation and silence of young women who have gone against convention and flouted the laws of a male society. Working as a documentary photographer, she shows the daily life of women who seem to have been enclosed their whole lives. The decor reminds one of a room where banished teenagers would be locked away. After having completely covered the floor, walls and ceiling with calligraphy drawn in henna, she now directs her models to reconstitute situations with which they are familiar. It is important to understand here that calligraphy as a form of writing is banned for women. Lalla Essaydi introduces into this prison, therefore, a gentle and elegant kind of subversion.
New to artparis, YU Gallery specializes in Chinese artists. Among them, Li Wei is an artist who dangerously sets his own body into the work, using the city as if it were a theater. His head can be stuck on the road, his body reproducing the trajectory of a basketball and then coming to balance – or not! – on a scaffolding. He can also mime the act of falling from a building, being pushed by a young woman or landing his head on a windscreen. For him, this violence against the body serves to illustrate the irrationality of mankind. Li Wei seeks to demonstrate that man is capable of the very worst as well as the best, but especially of the worst… In 2006 he took home one of the awards for “the best photographic works in the world,” granted by the Getty Institute.