Edition 2012

Olivier Metzger

Smile (forever)

Olivier Metzger’s new series is delightful. Not just because it is an ever- lasting smile (that of a woman photographed in sequence), but because the photographer has returned to what he is best at capturing, namely a mixture of registers. In his latest offering there are a few furtive night- time ‘snapshots’, portraits—some staged, some not—and images in a style akin to that of the documentary photographers. In spite of the apparent disparity of forms, one enters this world without difficulty. What carries the spectator along, beyond the genre labels, and what reigns supreme over these images is the power of fiction. One’s imagination, as much as one’s critical faculty, is called upon to observe the made-up, everyday life of a woman who, paradoxically, pays no heed to her image and for whom we have difficulty untangling what we find fascinating and what we find frightening. Having come to terms with the passage of time, she has decided to flaunt her looks at that stage in life when, not that long ago, a woman would have tended to fade into the background. Bounded as she is by the demands of a life of relentless movement, by Europe and America and by the illusion of suspended time, we catch glimpses of her destiny against the background of a kind of elegant and desperate road-movie interspersed with direct and contrasted portraits. In the course of this unresolved saga of daytime scenes and nocturnal tableaux, Olivier Metzger paints the enigmatic portrait of a woman who flaunts her frailty as a statement of freedom, to the point where the spectator’s gaze is troubled by it.

Paul Cottin

Prints and framing by the Atelier Voies Off, Arles.
Exhibition venue: Les Forges, Parc des Ateliers.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture