Erwan Morère — Vertige

Exhibition

Photography

Erwan Morère
Vertige

Past: May 17 → June 17, 2017

The world of Erwan Morère goes round but drives gently crazy. Since the earth is neither a line nor a flat horizon as we imagined for so long, nor the center of the universe, men should keep their proper place, lost as they are in the unthinkable and unintelligible chaos. Accepting that there is no meaning and no origin. This is probably why Erwan Morère’s images induce a visual shift toward both the abyss and the sky. Look at this child floating on his back in a swimming pool. He seems engulfed in metaphysical wonders beyond himself. He is staring at the sky, so high and distant. His entire body seems dumbstruck and possessed by mystery.

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Erwan Morère, Malmousque #20, 2013-2017, 0 Photography Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris

Such are Erwan Morère’s compositions: they are vertiginous. From the Latin “versare”, which means “turning”. Upward and downward. So the photographer takes a dive. He swims for a while, wanders underwater until he feels cold and comes back at the surface after having captured images of men abandoned to a new gravity. In his world, very few men stand up on their feet. In fact, when paying attention to his various series, we notice that subjects even tend to disappear. His characters are rarely shown in their entirety, but partly erased or only outlined. Lines and dots suspended between sky and earth. Silhouettes behind hazy or smoky curtains, like screens that block reality and arise ghosts in the middle of awaken dreams. Erwan opens our eyes on the dreamlike fabric of the world. He would do anything to fixate this intensity and purity on paper, as if his shots could capture a studded and padded sky. It would therefore be a tangible proof that we can grasp the reality that surrounds and envelops us. In that regard, we would be wrong to see Erwan as one of those contemplative photographers fascinated by the formal beauty of nature.

His landscapes, mountain ridges, coastlines swallowed by the sea, stormy or silky skies, flocks of birds, schools of fish, and sand dunes whipped by the wind are not incentives to admire what we would have otherwise missed. On the contrary, they are proof of a powerful materiality. Here, the photographic medium is not used as a testimony of the sublime but rather as a receptacle of the world’s texture. Erwan Morère’s intense dark weights on the paper like a tree bending toward the ground. If he could add even more density trough the use of painting like Soulage does, he would. But for the best, he does not. Because the entire tension and magic of analog black and white photography lies on this search for more sensuality in the printed image through developing films in photo labs and coming up with pigment ink printing techniques that allow for even deeper and more pictorial black. His compositions are often compared to photographic drawings for their strong evocation of charcoal. But there is no charcoal or lead pencil here. This pitch black is that of a play on a gaze alternatively turned toward the sun and darkness.

Léa Chauvel-Lévy
  • Opening Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6 PM → 9 PM