Edition 2008



? Was it a cat or a cat I saw ?

Closed on 14 September 2008
His colour ribbons in the night-time trees at a recent Hyères festival left me pensive; worry mingled with pleasure. I asked him to ‘catalogue’ both Histoires de mode, at the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris, and ‘La Redoute’. In fulfilling these commissions, he went further than a merely well-accomplished assignment, informing them with the zen-like laser simplicity that defines contemporary poetry.’ Christian Lacroix

Mainly the outcome of commissions from magazines and publications in the fashion, design, music and other fields, Grégoire Alexandre’s photographs are fuelled by a set of constraints that generate a highly fertile context conducive to the emergence of new worlds. Here we find pared-down spaces in which reality merges with abstraction, dialectical/paradoxical games with a marked fantastic side to them and narratives for which we do not quite possess the keys. With their roots in a multidisciplinary, cross-fertilised context – cinema, the visual arts, theatre, etc. – these photographs are, how ever, no more than unique, privileged accounts of concrete, homemade, site-specific creations. Digital retouching serves here simply as a means of nuancing: it never shapes and structures the image.If these mises en scène work with illusion, it is only in terms of specifically photographic artifice and singular optical and scenographic processes: objects lose their initial function, taking on a playful, poetic and sometimes purely plastic dimension.
The outcome, in a wondering return to the roots, is a tribute to basic image resources – shadow theatre, the magic lantern, etc. – together with a move beyond the virtuality which digitisation is currently making more and more omnipresent. For paradoxically, out of the confrontation with concrete materials and the tangible reality of our world, a whole universe of the latently oneiric springs with renewed vigour.Here we find fantasy images that make play with scale, whiteness and colour, emptiness and accumulation, the natural and the artificial. And while they take shape via this dialogue, these images remain more a matter of amused questioning than definitive assertion. Out of a visual itinerary dotted with mises en abyme, trompe-l’oeil, absurd installations and mechanisms gone out of whack, comes a floating world propitious to dreams and random wanderings.

Prints produced by PICTO.

  • 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