Exhibitions

8 March -18 March 2018

PARIS FRAGMENTS

Jean-Manuel Simoes
Robert Bared
Jorge Rodriguez de Rivera

8 - 18 March
Daily 2 - 7:30 pm

Studio Olivier Placet
15 rue Bouchardon 75010 Paris

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Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre first photographed the Paris skyline using his new photographic process, which was named after him – the daguerreotype – in 1838. Since then Paris has become the most photographed city in the world by amateurs and professionals alike. From Nadar and Atget to Ilse Bing, Brassai, Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Irving Penn, Sabine Weiss to Martin Parr or Bruce Gilden, there is hardly a great name in photography who did not, at one time or other, aim his or her lens on the city of light.

Yet each generation of photographers has also created its own vision of the city and its inhabitants, revealing the architectural and social evolutions of the urban fabric through time, while also responding to the stylistic and technical evolutions of photography itself. In many ways Paris, which witnessed its birth, and photography are inextricably linked.

Paris Fragments brings together two current photographers of Paris and a collage artist – Jean-Manuel Simoes, Robert Bared and Jorge Rodriguez de Rivera. One of the aims of the exhibition is to reveal a specifically contemporary sensibility in the depiction of Paris that emphasizes fragmentation.


Jean-Manuel Simoes
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As a press reporter and street photographer Jean-Manuel Simoes is most attuned to the accelerating pace of urban life in Paris and the impact of the extraordinary flood of instant photography unleashed by the advent of the Smartphone. In the three distinct photographic series presented in Paris Fragments Simoes explores the increasingly instant nature of perception and reactivity in modern city life.
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Superposition of multiple images is used in the urban scenes of ParisNomics and in the Show Must Go On, where demonstrators, rioters and witnesses blend into a multiple, fragmented vision of urban tension.
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His latest series, Paris Kaleidoscope 2018, is constructed by the “stolen” shots of movingly ordinary, self-absorbed Parisians of all classes hurrying past in the city streets.


Robert Bared
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Robert Bared brings a different and more romantic sensibility to his shots of Paris. In his own words: “A certain ideal of harmony distances me from brute and neuralgic reality or any type of purely mental research”. Though he photographs famous Paris sites and historic districts, he does so in a manner which is fresh and highly original.
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Shooting through the rain-splattered windshield of a parked car, Bared distorts architectural shapes, lights and passing figures creating a vision of fragmentary, fleeting, beauty hovering delicately between photography and a painterly Impressionist vision. This is an interiorized, personal response to the city, quite the opposite of Simoes’ extraverted, belligerent vision of the Paris streets.


Jorge Rodriguez de Rivera
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Jorge Rodriguez de Rivera’s collages using Paris as a backdrop derive from a postcard vision of the city that is, however, tinged by Surrealism. In famous Paris venues like the Alexandre III bridge, the Galerie Vivienne or the Carnavalet museum, the artist pastes a host of cut-out characters from art history books - figures from Victorian and Rococo painting, animals, birds, statues and exotic plants.
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The banality of known Parisian sites is thus magically transformed by the arrival of these historical fictional fragments. They animate their static backdrops in surreal yet graceful juxtaposition, carefully situated so as to obey the unity of space and the perspectives of the photos. Paris here becomes the private playground of witty and magical fictions whose object is to amuse and delight the viewer.
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Works in the Exhibition:

Robert Bared - Rain Painting, Paris

“Rain Painting” is a photographic process that uses rain. Raindrops are at one and the same time the photographic subject and a prism.
Rain Painting captures a landscape or cityscape by blurring lines, contours and colors, by shaking them up, dissolving, scattering or pulverizing them. A line of windows or street lamps, the silhouettes of pedestrians and cyclists, are drenched in a fine spray of rain, rendered shapeless, streak out like splashes, fray into shreds, or flare out like flames.
Though brought close to abstraction the subject never truly disappears in this photographic process. It remains visible here as a rain-submerged landscape, there as a scene lifted and blown away by a gust of wind.

Robert Bared, December 2017


Robert Bared - Winter Trees, Paris

Winter trees have a unique beauty. They reveal as much as they mask the landscape behind them, acting both as frame and screen. In the photos presented here, they celebrate in their own way the emblematic monuments of Paris. The olive branch held by the statue of the Republic intertwines with the fronds of a plane tree. The gilded genius atop the Bastille column springs out of the network of tree branches below him. The criss-crossing beams of the Eiffel tower are complemented by the natural scaffolding of the tree branches in the foreground.


Jorge Rodriguez de Rivera - Paris Collages, 2005-2018


Jean-Manuel Simoes - ParisNomics, 2009
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Jean-Manuel Simoes - Paris, The Show Must Go On, 2017

If there is one domain that was entirely revolutionized by technological evolution in the last decade it is most certainly that of photography.

The miniaturization of the lens, the sophistication of light captors, the increasing capacities of digital software and the massive diffusion of imagery through the internet and social media have made the photographic image ubiquitous and all-powerful – powerful beyond speech which is limited by the given number of words in any language.

Anyone who owns a Smartphone knows that he potentially possesses this new power. From abuses in Abu-Ghraib prison to the last flight of the Concorde it is amateur photos and not those of professional reporters that publicized these events. The amateur images were appropriated by the media and now fashion our vision of the world.

It is in the course of the spring and summer of 2016 during the great Paris street demonstrations against the new labor laws of the French government that I became truly conscious of the importance of the amateur-witness photographer and his impact on the media. The demonstrations were remarkable for their intensity and extreme violence and the near-military organization of the police and the protesters.

But beyond that of the demonstrators, I was also struck by the presence in the streets of thousands of hands brandishing Smartphones opposite the processions and riots. They were the third great ingredient of the social mix. In order to record this duality between participants and spectators I decided to use the “sandwich” method, first by photographing the street scenes and then turning to photograph those facing them and shooting with their Smartphones. At the lab I superimposed the two images to create a new, almost unreal composite image on a very metallic paper reminiscent of the celebrated Cibachrome. I also decided to go further by presenting the photos in frames reminiscent of Smartphone cases. Every image is thus at one with its Smartphone frame, photographer and subject fused.

During the anti-labor law demonstrations I had the impression of assisting at an organized show that the public was invited to witness in the streets of Paris. It brought to mind the organized spectacles of violence in the circuses of ancient Rome and suggested the title to the series: The Show Must Go On!

The series is made up of 50 unique images.

Jean-Manuel Simoes, November 2017


Jean-Manuel Simoes - Paris Kaleidoscope, 2018
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