Bigaignon: Radical Perspectives

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What is photography? It is from this question, simple at first sight and to which everyone seems to have a ready-made answer, that Thierry Bigaignon set to work to build this large-scale collective exhibition. An exhibition that brings together no less than ten artists, men and women from all walks of life, who, through their practice and the pieces they produce, disprove any prejudice one might have about photography. Anthology.

The exhibition starts with light-sensitive paper from the 1920s, developed by Alison Rossiter, a 69-year-old American artist who, as Marc Lenot wrote, “does not use a camera, does not use a lens, does not take landscapes or portraits, does not view photography as a representation of the world and does not submit to the rules of the camera”. And yet it would be difficult to view her work as anything other than photographic. The tone is set! Many pieces follow, each as unique as the next, which seems to take photography where it is not expected, to push it to its limits.

The Iranian Artist Morvarid K, of which two pieces from two different series are presented, seem to desacralize the print and especially the paper medium so dear to Alison Rossiter, and his prints are sometimes almost completely covered by several kilometers of small lines made with a pen, or by a Japanese dancer wear some of his prints, directly on the body and for several days. The photo paper is then paradoxically sublimated and the physical act of printing, traditionally dedicated to the darkroom, is moved there or extended beyond the walls.

Alexandra Wade, a Slovenian artist, experiments with the constituent elements of the photographic language, its laws and its structural variations. She asks to what extent it is possible to persist in a medium that has been so long associated with the mimetic illusion and the semantic construction that results from it, that has slowly worn out and has become increasingly lost in the mannered sequence of images. who, in a saturated iconosphere, rarely have anything new or really important to say. These images, devoid of images, destroy our deepest certainties about photography!

The exhibition continues with the work of Fernando Marante, a Portuguese artist recently represented by the Bigaignon Gallery, whose work is exhibited on the walls for the first time. Fernando investigates the effects of time in the construction of the photographic image. In his quest, Fernando tries to visually reveal in a singular script something whose existence would be mere speculation, to reveal the possibility of an image that would be invisible between two particular times. Through movement, the artist uses time as an instrument to formally play with variation, multiplication and addition, contraction and expansion, accumulation and disintegration. He creates images that are patterns of intentions, visual imprints of all decisions made during the photographic process. Two of his pieces are on display: while one stretches space-time in an abstract way, the other redefines color in photography.

While it seems natural to connect photography and technology as this medium has evolved through and with technical progress since its invention, Lionel Bayol-Themines, in his practice questions the history of images and their creative process, presenting here a photo against the tide of this famous technical progress. An image of the Earth and its moon, an image that could not be more contemporary and which nevertheless, instead of using millions of pixels, is presented to us on the scale of a single pixel!

The visitor might feel lost in this curatorial wealth, supplanted by these different practices, but the French artist Vincent Ballard then comes to put the essential in place with a lucid diptych: two prints on which “Something” and “Light” are engraved as if to recall a simple definition of photography.

We therefore thought we were “reassured”, before coming face to face with the work of Thomas Package titled L’Observatoire! Thomas Paquet has indeed spent several years conducting photographic research around its fundamental characteristics: light, space and time. He presents here his latest piece that allows you to follow and interpret the course of the sun and moon in our sky at any time, on a screen made by the artist. This light sculpture, a digital work of which an NFT version will be launched in parallel on the platform, shows us an image, a geolocated color gradient evolving in real time. It nevertheless remains an essentially photographic work, for it must be explained that this unique piece is the result of writing with light, and not just any light, the most beautiful of all, the sun.

Yannig Hedel, artist represented by the gallery and known for his highly photographic work composed of lavish prints in an infinite gray scale, amazes by presenting here a series of volumes created some thirty years ago. Sculptures, yes, but photographic sculptures he could answer, because they are inspired by his own photographs and could not exist without them. The exhibition ends with two artists bringing the definition of photography to a pinnacle!

In front of Vittoria Gerardic, Italian artist of the gallery, this definition cannot be reduced to the fixation of an image, a definition widely accepted since Nicephore Niepce. Indeed, by choosing not to repair her prints, Vittoria Gerardi looks at the nature of photography, light and time, exploring the boundary between the visible and invisible elements that make up a photograph.

Finally, closing the exhibition with its concrete columns called Concrete, of which the artist polishes only a few faces, Anne-Camille Allueva works on the ephemeral image, its reflection, and asks a fundamental question: Would photography exist if its invention had not occurred?

Illustrating the line of the Bigaignon gallery that qualifies as photosensitive contemporary art, this exhibition shakes our certainties, asks questions and challenges visitors as well as photography itself, and presents some fifteen works from March 31 to May 14 2022.

Radical Perspectives
March 31 to May 14e 2022
18 rue du Bourg-Tibourg
75004 Paris

  • opening Thursday March 31, 2022 (6pm-9pm)

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