Les choses de la vie



Les choses de la vie

Past: January 24 → March 14, 2020

Les Douches la Galerie presents The Things of Life, bringing together with the complicity of Eric Remy the works of Marcel Arthaud, Pierre Boucher, René Jacques, Jean Moral, Roger Parry, Jean Roubier, André Steiner and René Zuber.

Straying from the classical themes that photography had tackled as a rival to painting, some young photographers of the 1920s-30s started pointing their easier-to-handle cameras towards more intimate and emotional subjects, giving up the conventionality of landscapes.

They found inspiration in their daily lives, unless they were busy with commissioned work (portraits, advertisements, features or news).

Their partner, their workshop or a tangle of objects inspired them to capture the poetic charm of a fleeting moment.

No need for a studio with sophisticated lighting, or complicated compositions in an effort to achieve striking effects: it was the subject that mattered, offering up its simplicity and ordinariness — but full of the poetry of the moment.

A scene would appear before the eye of the beholder.

A self-taught photographer, Jean Moral wandered the streets of Paris and captured some parts of the city with an audacious way of framing. But it was his partner Juliette, whom he had met in 1927, who became his favourite model. Straying from classical posing, Moral broke her body down. An arm or a leg would become more than a compositional element — an object of desire. Far from the coldness of abstract compositions, his pictures burst with erotic tension. Jean Moral would touch his partner with his camera so that her skin would seem within reach.

With André Steiner or Pierre Boucher, discarded objects found a second life. Doomed to disappear after good and faithful service, they were saved from oblivion. The entanglement of old objects would attract the eye one last time. Dolls, tailor’s dummies, masks — modest human doubles came back to life for a posed picture.

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Marcel Arthaud, Sans titre Gelatin silver print, vintage — 9 × 6 inches Courtesy Les Douches la Galerie, Paris

Sometimes, the eye of the photographer was caught by a subtle light or shadow effect. Marcel Arthaud captured the waving shadow of a balcony railing on an immaculate net curtain momentarily turned into a graphic canvas showing the mysterious powers of light.

As for Zuber, he was interested in the light playing on glass panels and the aesthetic power of printer trays in his own workshop.

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René Zuber, Plaques de verre, 1929 Gelatin silver print, vintage — 7 × 5 inches Courtesy Les Douches la Galerie, Paris

A disturbing strangeness sometimes emerges from some of these pictures — a sense of insecurity. As witnesses to transient moments or the uncertainty of the future, they are often imbued with a sense of nostalgia.

Taken with the sole purpose of keeping a trace of a fleeting emotion or sensation, they are small silver poems, silent echoes of the things of life.

Eric Rémy

  • Opening Thursday, January 23, 2020 6 PM → 9 PM
10 Paris 10 Zoom in 10 Paris 10 Zoom out

5, rue Legouvé

75010 Paris

T. 01 78 94 03 00

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Wednesday – Saturday, 2 PM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment Book an appointment: bit.ly/les-douches-rendez-vous

The artists

  • René Zuber
  • Pierre Boucher
  • René Jacques
  • André Steiner
  • Jean Moral
  • Marcel Arthaud
  • Roger Parry
  • Jean Roubier