jeudi 10 février 2011
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/U L T R A M E M O I R E/
/U L T R A M E M O R Y/
Paris /Vilnius /2011 /
'The painting is becoming closer to poetry, now that photography has freed her of the
need of storytelling' Georges Braque
'Photography is the conscience of the painting. She constantly reminds her what it should
not do. So that painting takes its responsibilities." Brassai
According to the myth of the daughter of Butadès the Potter from Sycione, painting was
invented by outlining a shadow. Photography didn’t exist then but already gave birth to
art. Today, this particular way of fixing space through a light cast onto a plan has
remained an essential part of many young French painters’ work. Gallery NIVETCARZON
presents five artists who share the use of photography at the core of their
Young French figurative painters are often working using an initial photographic material and play
with this complex relationship. This current of contemporary French painting attempts to
reinterpret the photograph in its role of witness and instills to it a new pictorial dimension.
For his part, contemporary photography confronts more and more to art history that precedes it
and therefore that of painting The new printing techniques, the selected print material (fine art
paper, canvas, cardboard, wood) provide a new volume to the photographic object. The type of
framing, the pictorial composition, the subject itself are all attempts at rapprochement with the
While the painters of the late nineteenth century were convinced that the emergence of
photography would completely decimate their art, it is now photography which is throwing bridges
towards an increasingly close relationship between these two media, specially in the figurative
movement. It's a sort of revenge of the painting.
We present 5 artists symptomatic of this noticeable collusion.
Michel CASTAIGNET worked for several years from old photographs and slides that he collects
around the world and which he breathes new dimension, especially playing in his own way of
painting a “passé” intention . He then plays on framing inside the painting itself or false accidental
folding of a worn photo.
Joseph Choi, Korean-French painter, fits perfectly into this project because he works not only
from photos or videos, but precisely because he wants to give his work a photographic look,
glossy, with the superposition of alternative layers of paint, resin and lace to accentuate the
‘’pixelation effect''. The project / / People # / / includes photographs and video coverage of the
visit by JK Kennedy in Dallas in 1962 shortly before his assassination and seeks to represent
anonymous people during this tragedy that would mark the world.
Hervé Ic. Meticulousness, precision, obstinacy, obsession, define the act of his painting. Depth,
awareness, humility and delicacy define his thought. He frees the real to create an harmony
between its various strata, through successive layers and transparencies, towards a quasisaturation,
turning the painting into a screen. A psychological revealer, which tells us the present
Nataliya LYAKH, photographer and videographer, proposes a series of photographic prints on
aesthetic and photographic reflection on our relationship with invasive collective memory.
Cyril HATT was born in 1975, works and lives in Rodez. Stereoscopic photography is a process
which gives the illusion of relief. Two photographs of a same subject are shot from two different
angles. The two photographs are superimposed recreating a distance between the eyes.. Project /Windscreen/ - urban scenes instantaneous slope towards abstraction - offers
Ultramemory exposes the relationship between painting and photography by setting parallel two
conflicting experiences of reality. The problematic is revitalized nowadays by the proliferation of
images that generates frustration for an increasingly demanding audience. Trivialized images are
often balanced by elaborated scenarios, notably within video art. Form the 60’s onward, Pop
artists and Narrative Figuration painters have exhausted the idea of reproducing what is already a
reproduction, using photography as a primary source. German artist Gerhard Richter uses it as a
filter supposed to scramble or simplify the original picture (“Student” 1967). Artist photographers
have also shown their skill to integrate pictorial problematic by questioning the very codes of
representation. For instance, in the “Borderland” photo series, Tania Mouraud catches the
reflection of the landscape in the plastic film of a straw round baler. In her way, Shanta Rao
explores the borderline states of perception in her silk screens like an abstract shadow of
photography. Does the invasion of images incite artists to react by altering representation?
Well known for his 3D reproductions of consumer goods, the artist Cyril Hatt tries to deconstruct
reality with humour. He dissects his subject by shooting it from various angles and then
recomposes it as a fictive object made of the images. Whatever the trends, painting and
photography have never lost “the unshakable bond that unites them in a quest for optical
structuration that makes today the unconscious or subconscious way we chose to use in order to
elaborate an appropriate type of conscious for the future”.
As if they were exploring the potential of memory, the works of Hervé Ic are the expression of the
constant stream of images that invades our post-modern society and that we cannot do without.
When components add up without destroying themselves, painting must react to the build-up of
images often trivialized and confined to anonymity. Through details, artists oppose the power of
imagination to the cold indifference one feels in front of a stream of images. In the series
“Windshield,” the artist Nataliya Lyakh recalls fragments of our collective memory through
reflections in a mirror. The skilfully touched up archives of the artist Michel Castaignet give back
to essentially mechanical images the inside emotion they would lack. The “People” series of the
Franco-Korean painter Joseph Choi expresses “the fake familiarity established by television
between the viewers and the actors of History whose faces have become as usual as those of
soap movies stars or international sportsmen and performers.”
Expressions of our event based society, these artworks manage to imbricate images from all
walks and time in order to blur our vision and comprehension of the world. From this amalgam,
the artists extract a singular universe that arouses our feeling of being in this world.
Joseph Choi works from old photographs in a process of transformation, transcription from one dimension
The family album of Joseph Choi is composed of a multitude of anonymous identities and landscapes. His
paintings immobilize the time in a disappearing space. Whether using a smooth or thickened touch, he
directs its contrast between a burst of color or a deliberate dark and sober line. The paintings absorb the
personality of the figurants.
In the series / People # / Joseph CHOI was inspired by photographs and videos taken during the
assassination of JF Kennedy in Dallas in 1962. He selected anonymous characters who attended the event
which would deeply mark the minds all over the world. First evidence of a certain globalization of
Its treatment by successive layers of paint, resin and lace creates a voluntary distance with these
anonymous witnesses, a blure surpixellisé which questions about the nature of the information around us
or even the nature of our emotions.
He lives and works in Paris.
Michel Castaignet (b.1971) lives and works between Paris and Burgundy. He holds a Master in Aesthetics
and Art Theory (2001) from Middlesex University, London.
Michel Castaignet is engaged in a body of serial painting that questions memory and the fragmentation of
the world. His figurative subjects often originate from his collection of amateur photos. They are used as a
polysemic material in an apparent playfulness but often end up illustrating some melancholy.
His direct style made of bold stokes plays with our ability to recognize photographic aboutness behind
unfinished shapes and outlines.
He represented France at the Vienna Biennale in 2006.
"I try to be direct, taking the simplest way, I’m looking for some aporia, I refuse effects, I see the picture as
a souvenir which we would be left with. The banality of the photos I use gives a universal appeal to the
characters that I direct. "Michel Castaignet
Meticulousness, precision, obstinacy, obsession, define the act of painting of Hervé Ic. Depth,
awareness, humility and delicacy define his thought. He frees real to create a harmony between
its various strata, through successive layers and transparency, towards a quasi-saturation,
turning the painting into a screen. A psychological revealer, which tells us the present time.
Influenced by her former neurolinguistics research on the brain asymmetry and speech prosessing, she
invites us to discover the magic dimensions, abstractions, hidden in the most simple objects that surround
us, as seen through the lens of a microscope, the prism of binoculars, a periscope, telescope, a
kaleidoscope or immerse her eye in the viewfinder of a photo or video camera. Her creations, with a use
plexiglass, aluminum, or canvas, are invitations to discover our daily life objects or situations with aesthetic,
innovative and perplexing treatment. Spectators are confronted with a visual experience where jostle,
without interruption, mental associations leading to question the existence of any objective reality.
Project /Windscreen/ offers aesthetic and photographic reflection on our relationship with invasive collective
memory. Using old photographs (XIX & begining of XX century) inserted in a «retroviseur»
questions what our ancestors would think of the acceleration of our way of life.
From early childhood Natalia is passionate by painting, sculpture and photography. Later on, she
developed a strong interest in science and graduated with a Ph.D. in neuro-linguistics „Brain Assymetry
and Speach Processing“. During the last years, Natalia devotes her full-time attention to photography,
video and film, she recently finished her first 35min film. Born in St. Petersburg, she lives and works in
De natura rerum
Stereoscopic photography is a process which gives the illusion of relief. Two photographs of a
same subject are shot from two different angles. The two photographs are superimposed creating
a distance between the eyes. It is more than a thousand shots that Cyril Hatt needs to elaborate
If we give a closer look, the illusion drops : motorcycles, cars, electric appliances, shoes, any object
that lets itself being captured into Cyril’s camera is not a mere reconstruction but a ghost. Shallow,
empty, hastily stuck together, these works are illusions. Illusion of an image, illusion of a volume,
vain attempt to possess the body and the essence of the image. With low fidelity means ( a digital
camera, a die sub printer, rolls of tape and a stapler) and strong patience, Cyril Hatt reproduces
with great approximation what falls in front of his lens. Modern objects, every day objects, objects of
temptations, objects of dependence, they all go. Affirming any object of consumerism is illusion?
This would bring us back to sixteenth and seventeenth century still life symbolism. A world of
silence, a life of expectation.
Observation and patience enable Cyri Hatt to recreate humble forms that are used and worn out.
Motorcycles, cars, electric appliances, shoes or even cameras stop being objects of desire. Deprived
from their appeal, reassembled as puzzles, dispossessed from anything that gives them a monetary
value, Cyril Hatt hijacks every day objects and slides them on the art side.
He lives and works in Rodes (south of France).