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Elsa & Johanna

Artists presented by
Galerie La Forest Divonne, Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium

Find the truth

Elsa and Johanna have made a habit of climbing into other people’s skins. Slipping into stranger’s day-to-day lives, they roam geographies and cultures, becoming one with different worlds.

Formed in 2014, the photography duo creates autofiction. They intrude behind and before the camera, presenting situations they’ve experienced, observed and dreamed up. With a cinematic mastery of space and time, they build scenarios out of the fictions inhabited by the characters they interpret. The camera thus becomes the omniscient narrator, capturing the lives of these so-called genuine characters.

Made in 2018, in Calgary, a city in southwest Canada, the photographs of Find the Truth mark a new episode in the series Beyond the Shadows. Immersed in the city, the photographers soak up the atmosphere of this historyless border territory and caringly tell the story of a society plagued by isolation. Through the attentive observation of individuals and their social interactions, the artists appropriate their attitudes, gestures and expressions to reenact their lives and private worlds. With their signature style, the anonymous become protagonists, their private lives made public.

Little is left to chance. Given a codified aesthetic repertoire, the story is tinged with the strange feeling of déjà vu. The artists, going out in search of our memories, paint with the collective imaginary to capture the familiar. Deserted shots are found beside scenes of quarrels and veiled melancholy. In suspension, each soul heaves a sigh of utter solitude. Elsa & Johanna express the emotions that lie on the surface of bodies trying to uncover their truths.

Anne Bourrassé

Elsa Parra, born 1990, Bayonne, France.
Johanna Benaïnous, born 1991, Paris, France.
Live and work in Paris.
Since meeting at the School of Visual Art in New York in 2014, Elsa Parra and Johanna Benaïnous have formed a duo of visual artists, photographers and directors. They graduated in 2015 with the congratulations of the Fine Arts of Paris.