Tag Archives: French Artist

Sylvain Granjon

Sylvain Granjon has just opened an exhibition at Galeria Tagomago that will travel to both gallery locations in Barcelona and Paris. The exhibit runs throught October 20th in Barcelona and moves to Paris from November 15th-18th.

Sylvain is a French artist who comes from the world of the circus and entertainment. After more than 20 years performing across the world in a number of street theater festivals, Sylvain now creates his magic with a camera, specializing in portraits and constructed realities. I am featuring a series of his daughter, Douce Amère, that is simply charming in it’s exploration of portraiture, humor, and appreciation for childish things.


I come from the entertainment world. I have been an entertainer for 20 years. I would say I’m an eccentric more than a clown.

This artificial world has been mine for all that time.
When I photograph my daughter, I photograph myself.
Her direct look has shaken my adult certainties. What I see in her eyes challenges me, as a grown child, as a father…
She seems to be asking me : “What have you become?”
When I portray my daughter there is a seriousness at odds 
with her young age.
I try to evoke the adult’s desperate quest for the mythical image of his own childhood; the source of all our emotions.
Sylvain Granjon, 2012

‘Faking It’: Old-School Photo Trickery at the Met

With all due respect to the Who, wewillget fooled again. That’s what humans do. At one time or another, we suspend disbelief about virtually everything. And why not? As social creatures, we’re wired to trust others.

But what about when we know, with absolute certainty, that someone’s trying to put one over on us and rather than resisting, we embrace it? What does it say about the power of denial, not to mention our thirst for entertainment, when we actively seek out and celebrate artfully executed trickery?

A new show at the Met, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, shines a thoughtful light on the work of men and women who, throughout the history of the medium, have playfully (and, occasionally, with more sinister motives) doctored their own and others’ images. Not content with merely presenting the works themselves, though, Faking It also holds up something of a funhouse mirror to the viewer’s preconceptions of what photography really isand what it means.

After all, if photographers, printers and others involved in the craft have for centuries been altering the “reality” of what the camera capturesas, of course, they always have, and always willthen where is the hard, bright line between, say, a masterwork of photojournalism tweaked and perfected in the dark room and a photo adroitly doctored to make a political point? Professional photo editors might be able to say, with absolute sincerity, “That hard, bright line exists here.” But for the casual observer, the lay viewer, that distinction might feel like little more than an academic splitting of hairs; what matters is that a picture elicits a responseand with few exceptions, the images in Faking It do just that.

More than a few pictures in the show are memorable for the very reason that they are so obviously, to our contemporary eyes, manufactured. A French artist’s photo made to look like that of a man juggling his own head (slide 8 in the gallery above) might have stunned people in the 1880s; today, not so mucheven if we can appreciate the deliberate effort and even the intent that went into creating it. directory submission . An image of two Soviet premiers seated together, meanwhile, is so clearly an (altered) attempt to consecrate the mass-murdering Stalin as the rightful successor of Lenin that the picture would be comical if we didn’t have such a dreadful understanding of how brutal Stalin’s decades-long reign really was.

Other photos strike a chord for the simple reason that they are, by any measure, beautiful. The dream-like “Orpheus Scene” (1907) by the early fine-art photographer F. AntServe.com . Holland Day is so wonderfully moody that, at first glance, it might be the handiwork of the great French Symbolist painter Odilon Redon.

In the end, perhaps the pleasure we take in these pictures derives not from our sophisticated, skeptical, eminently modern sensibility in the age of Instagram, Pixelmator and the rest, but instead can be traced to a simpler, far more elemental source: our capacity, and our longing, for wonder.

Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from Oct. 11, 2012 through Jan. 27, 2013.

Ben Cosgrove is the editor of LIFE.com.

Valentina Canseco & Daniel Carvalho – Medellin al sol y al agua

Valentina Canseco is a French artist who draws. (What’s the word for that? drawer? illustrator? draughtswoman?). Anyway, she has a great show up currently in Medellin called Medellin al sol y al agua done in collaboration with Colombian urbanist Daniel Carvalho.  Canseco is showing a number of prints based on simple line-ink drawings of houses and simple street scenes in different neighborhoods around the city, covering all social classes and “stratuses” as they say here. She’s drawn to simple but idiosyncratic details of modern vernacular architecture and details of the cityscape. These are things that interest me greatly for my photography, so it’s really interesting to see how the artist evokes these elements with ink and pen.

Valentina Canseco at Centro Columbo Americano in Medellin

Valentina Canseco at Centro Columbo Americano in Medellin

Valentina Canseco at Centro Columbo Americano in Medellin

Valentina Canseco at Centro Columbo Americano in Medellin

The show is currently at the Centro Columbo Americano in downtown Medellin. They’ve also put together a great group on facebook, where they post news and invite users to submit photos of their neighborhoods. They’ve even got coffee mugs.

Playful, seductive nude photo animations in Paris

Présence M, by Floriane de Lassée. 1 min loop, 1x1m80 retro-projection.

French artist Floriane de Lassée — who is well known for her earlier, meditative, large-format architectural photographs with figures — only recently started making short films and videos from stills. We were thrilled to discover her new work when she submitted it to Lens Culture last year. And we are delighted that these captivating video animations will be featured as life-size rear-projections at a Galerie Philippe Chaume in Paris.

Floriane de Lassée says this about the new work, Presences:

Presences plays with the place of the human body in our minds. Our bodies create our boundaries; they carry and constrain the human spirit. What stories do we tell with what we reveal and what we hide? What do we choose to show the world? Can the human body ever truly be “shown” in its entirety?

Subjects in the series appear behind a translucent structure through which they may both reveal and hide themselves. Imprisoned, glimpsed, imagined, transformed, they disappear and emerge all at once. The video is backlit (retro projection) on a semi-transparent surface, similar to the one through which the series’ subjects were photographed. Each full-scale video is a human scale loop. The device and the back of the installation are hidden by a box or a big black cloth so we can think that it is a real person behind a window.

Have our subjects been trapped, held captive behind a wall of light? Or are they surging forward from ether to matter, from imagination to reality?

Présence Julien, by Floriane de Lassée. 1 min loop, 1×1.80m, retro-projected.

These videos and others are showing, life-size, at Galerie Philippe Chaume in Paris, April 8-June 4.

Exposition “Présences” à la galerie Philippe Chaume: 08 Avril au 04 Juin 2011.
Vernissage le mercredi 07 Avril de 18h à 21h.
9 rue de Marseille, 75010 Paris – Métro République


Visit the artist’s website to see more.

Postcards from Google Earth

Google just won’t stop popping up in the art world these days. After the much-hyped and thus far disappointing Google Art Project and several interesting photographic projects using Google Street View technology, the French artist Clement Valla has used Google Earth to create his Bridges series. The series began when Valla, who has worked as an architect and designer, noticed a bug in Google Earth’s 3D view: while the software uses the altitude of the ground to create it’s 3D renderings, it isn’t accurate enough to pick up on bridges which find themselves warping and melting according to the contour of the surrounding landscape. The results remind me a little of Fontcuberta’s Landscapes without memory, landscapes that seem only to be possible in a computer’s imagination.


Related posts:

  1. Interview: Joan Fontcuberta, Landscapes without memory
  2. Naoshima: Paradise on Earth?