Edition 2016

Musée Réattu

Katerina Jebb

Deus ex machina

Since the time of Jacques Réattu, the Grand Priory of the Order of Malta, which became a museum in 1868, has sheltered works by artists won over and fascinated by the powerful spirit of this still-lively place behind its reassuring rampart. Katerina Jebb is no exception. Led to the site by Christian Lacroix, she succumbed to its attraction in 2008.

Afterwards, her works continued to gain meaning at the museum, in particular through a spectacular eight-photograph series entitled Untitled Icon: 1-8, in which she presents the singular aesthetics of a visual experiment where fabrics and bodies mingle, forming mysterious floating idols in Christian Lacroix dresses. By using only a digital scanner, she subverts an industrial reproduction tool and imposes images now freed from one of art’s greatest achievements: perspective. In Jebb’s work, the idea of three-dimensional reproduction gives way to a hyperrealism of materials and flesh.

The artist’s interest in historical relics such as Marie-Antoinette’s handwritten letters and Napoleon’s jacket responds to the historical nature of places and collections. She applies her obsessive search for traces of man with the same relevance to the vestiges of studios where artists such as Picabia, Duchamp or Balthus worked. Jebb’s approach to the present is revealed not just in portraits, but also in videos where she stages the contemporary heroines in her personal pantheon like goddesses: Tilda Swinton, Isabelle Huppert, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue and Setsuko Klossowska de Rola, Balthus’s wife.

This is the first time a museum has devoted a monographic exhibition to the artist. The title, deus ex machina, evokes the magic of works created in the cold light of a machine to which Katerina Jebb concedes the quasi-divine power of visual art.

Pascale Picard, Director of the Musée Réattu

Exhibition curator: Pascale Picard.
Exhibition produced by the city of Arles.
Publication: Deux Ex Machina - Katerina Jebb, Skira, 2016.

  • 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