WHAT'S UP ? 4 PHOTO WORLDS
To coincide with PARIS PHOTO, Brian Elliott ROWE leaves his gallery, GALERIE BE-ESPACE, in the expert hands of four talented photographers:
Grégory GAYDU, Alexandra MAS, Alexandra STEFANAKIS and Louis TERAN. From 12 November to 12 December 2013, this show reveals unique photographic works in which each photographer frees himself from technical constraints to produce free-spirited images reflecting artistic adventures and human encounters.
Grégory GAYDU - NOIR FONCÉ, Chapitre II
Matter cracks under the strain of powerful emotion. Hiding behind a mask of apparent calm, substance and feeling collide like opposing winds: screaming the silence they impose, mute witnesses of suffering or vocal expressions of pain. Grégory Gaydu prepares the figures who appear in his photographs: he creates the setting, chooses the background music, sets the scene. His eye glued to the viewfinder, he waits patiently for the last moment. The magic of the instant and the mystery of the impalpable find their way onto the film. Whatever he chooses to show one thing is sure: only featureless lives produce smooth faces. Flashes of white – a glance, a smile, a fingernail - pierce through the omnipresent, omnipotent black. The eye of the viewer must get used to this blackness: it then becomes all the more incisive, discerning the beating heart and the wavering soul in these stone masks and caskets of clay. The essence of humanity has gone to ground, burying itself without quite falling silent; now at last it springs from the frame, fully itself, brutally but entirely true.
Grégory Gaydu (b.1987), a photographic artist with a highly intimate style, has lived and worked in Paris for 10 years. A graduate of Lycée Brassaï, he started his career in 2007 and co-founded the MAD Photographie collective. His travels and encounters fuel his creative work and formed the subject of his early exhibitions. Two years of silence followed. In 2012, he exorcised the suffering he had experienced with 'Noir Foncé – Chapitre 1', a project that brought him recognition and earned him an award at the first edition of the Su-ture Contest in 2013.
Alexandra MAS – MADE IN BEAUTY
Pictographs by Alexandra Mas reflect her desire to represent Beauty. Esthetic beauty, of course but above all a beauty that is connected to primal forces, The artist translates the elements - earth, water, air, fire - into substances: gold, silver, metal, powders, pigments… (products by Make Up Forever). Using a masterful colour palette, she uses make-up without affection. To express the angst of the natural world, she gives it human form: a visual metamorphosis that makes the image speak all the more clearly to us. The artist works directly on her muse, the actress Aurore Tomé, photographing her, painting her, almost sculpting her. She looks at the shot and pares it down, constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing both her model and her message. Femininity, sensoriality, and corporeality are not merely offered up for everyone to view. As if adorned with precious gems, draped with imaginary lace, surrounded by an electric solar halo or soft moonlight, the image embodies with one gesture, one glance, one movement, the message it defends and the dream it pursues. As we look at them one after another, the works of Alexandra Mas turn the spotlight on a world of beauty they urge us to preserve.
Alexandra Mas (b.1978), born in Transylvania, lives and works in Bordeaux and Paris. She began her artistic career at the age of 14, attending art school and the University of Fine Arts in Bucarest and gaining her Masters degree in design and interior design in France. She is skilled in a range of disciplines: drawing, engraving, painting, photography, etc., and likes to define herself as a "visual artist". Drawing inspiration from contemporary dance, music, fashion and classical semiology, she has created a highly eclectic body of images.
Alexandra STEFANAKIS – COULEURS JAZZ
Visual poet Alexandra Stefanakis makes colour shimmer in unison with the jazz musicians she listens to and photographs. By producing her works using the gum bichromate method, digitally enhancing them and printing them on Velin d’Arches fine art paper, she intensifies their graininess and plays with rich, velvety colour effects. Her lens captures the music at the moment when it is created, as it is performed, in the emotion of the instant. Her reworked prints move the musical notes from the ear to the eye, beyond the initial shot. Sounds then resonate with images and become literally chromatic, forming part of an astonishing visual score. Archie Shepp's sax assumes subtle shades of blue (and shades of the Blues). Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet blasts out unique harmonies. Vibrant hues rock Pat Metheny's guitar. Alexandra Stefanakis manages to combine different artistic worlds whilst constantly reinventing her own: that of contemporary photography, where technology does not impinge on painterliness and where music sets the tempo.
Alexandra Stefanakis (b.1962) lives and works in France. She began her career in the mid 1980s. Her work initially focused on fashion and advertising and then moved towards a more personal style in reportage pieces on the world of music and portraits of musicians. She has won a number of awards, including the prestigious Prix Polaroid de la Technique and the Prix de l’Agence Synergie du Reportage, which she received from Jean Loup Sieff in 1983.
Louis TERAN – INTIMITÉ(S)
In the playful private world of the self, Louis Teran's portraits seek out the depths of our being: the complex twists and turns of our souls, be they brothers or enemies, bound together forever or mired in paradox. In their ever-present bodies, whose deceptively nonchalant postures and elegant attitudes are carefully studied and staged. With a sharp sense of framing, the photographer makes skilled use of light: it is reflected on the walls, shines obliquely through the room, caresses the skin, forms haloes around faces. To capture a sense of intimacy at the level of the soul itself, of naked skin, of costumes donned for the occasion. The subjects' spirit escapes, playful, poetic, introspective, always free whether it be an embodiment of the self or of an assumed role. The artist creates a mysterious chemistry between the expression of the body and that of the mind. Neither monolithic nor equivocal, it relies on tonalities and nuances of language to achieve the subtlety of a visual narrative. Louis Teran inches forward gingerly like a tightrope walker: his photographic art flourishes in the fragility of his own strengths and in the intensity of unspoken frailties.