Search for content, post, videos

Bigaignon : The Dialectic of Shadow


Placed under the curatorship of Thierry Bigaignon, and bringing together this year the works of twelve artists some represented and some invited, this collective exhibition entitled « La Dialectique de l’Ombre » addresses the question of shadow in its relationship to light. , of photography in its relation to reality and more broadly of art in its relation to the world.

From the origins of the image to the advent of photography, the question of the representation of reality has arisen. Does reality exist, or is it only the fruit of our experience? If light is a symbol of truth, is the cast shadow its counterpart? The philosopher Eric Lecerf wrote that the presence of the shadow is never fortuitous, whether it was the origin of the pictorial representation for some or the visual translation of the representation for others. But the shadow is, in its dialectical version, the source of a problem. It is not simply what accompanies light, but what conditions it, limits it and, in the end, torments it. If all light is carried with the intention to dissipate shadows, it never ceases to produce new ones! Shadow, rival and accomplice of light, by turns romantic, Caravaggesque, impressionist or photographic, has never ceased to highlight forms, thus creating an atmosphere that is sometimes intimate, sometimes dramatic, in its perpetual quest to reveal a presence, to make visible the very existence of light.

Whether in the apparent monochromes of Anne-Camille Allueva, this young French artist who recently joined the gallery, in the translucent plexiglass of the Swiss Anne Blanchet, we also feel in these two artists a desire to make light visible. On the other hand, it is on a principle of invisibility that the wall sculptures of the visual artist Sophie Coroller are based. Made of carbon and glass, they migrate on the wall, landing like the butterfly of a contemporary Nabokov. A choreography of resistance without tension, the line tends towards an absolute non-constraint, thus plunging us into an optical illusion. A shadow is perceptible there without us understanding its origin. We no longer know where the light comes from, nor what could have caused the emergence of a very real shadow!

The optical illusion continues in the work presented by Renato D’Agostin which will surprise many connoisseurs of his work. We obviously find his signature, the splendor of his silver prints, but this time, the Italian artist gives us a photographic sculpture where steel, reflections and shadows mingle, whose field extends to infinity. thanks to a clever confrontation of mirrors. With the work of Mireille Fulpius, invited for the occasion and better known for her practice of wood for nearly 40 years, it is also a question of sculpture and steel. Inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, the two pieces presented here, oscillating between presence and absence, emptiness and fullness, light and shadow, question us about reality and its perception.

Recognized for their sublime silver prints, the American master Ralph Gibson, the gray prodigy Yannig Hedel and the late Denis Malartre (whose work is exhibited for the first time at the gallery) do not limit themselves to writing with light, but seek, explore and examine it with counterpoint shadow. And one could say that counterpoint is the prerogative of Antony Plasse, this young French artist, resident at POUSH and invited for the occasion. Not content to literally paint with light through the use of silver gelatin on his canvases, he erases its traces, and by practicing the fold and the incision on his unearthed canvases, the artist seems to get rid of the light to succeed in painting with the shadow itself.

The installation of Thomas Paquet, between allegory of Plato and myth of Narcissus, and that of Oliver Ratsi, worthy successor of the Light & Space movement, brilliantly punctuate the space and enter into dialogue in a harmonious way. Between tangible and fictitious anamorphoses, between real reflections and imaginary shadows, our gaze is disoriented… and ends up landing on a key piece: a historical composition by Elyn Zimmerman dating from 1975. Discovered a few years ago by Thierry Bigaignon at the Contemporary Art Center in Copenhagen during a major exhibition entitled “Light & Space”, dedicated to this emblematic Californian movement of the 1960s, of which Elyn Zimmerman was one of the pioneers alongside Turrell, Larry Bell and Robert Erwin, this masterful composition made of silver prints and pencil drawings, advances the hypothesis that light and shadow can merge, and in doing so, gives pride of place to the passage of time!

Silver prints, photograms, sculptures, anamorphoses, installations and works on canvas, The Dialectic of Shadow is a protean exhibition that addresses the ambiguous relationship between shadow and light, because shadow only exists because there is light. , while being defined precisely by its total absence!

Bigaignon is a photosensitive contemporary art gallery. The gallery’s line finds its roots in avant-garde movements such as Light & Space, minimalism, abstract art, concrete photography or even constructivism, and is based on the strong conviction that photography, nourished in particular by these currents, has fully entered a new era.

Deeply committed to promoting artists who work with the fundamental elements of photography that are light and time, whatever the final medium, the gallery contributes to the development of a new avant-garde. It thus emphasizes an international program proposed by the artists it represents and supports, whether they are emerging, developing or internationally recognized, and who seize the photographic medium to explore its extent with a  singular writing.

Located in the Marais in Paris ( 18 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, Paris 4), the gallery has an exhibition space under a glass roof, a one-of-a-kind Curated Book (Store) and a reserve that can be visited thus offering a fascinating experience to its visitors, lovers of beautiful books and collectors.


The gallery is a member of the Professional Committee of Art Galleries (CPGA).

La Dialectique de l’Ombre
June 1 – July 13, 2023
18 Rue du Bourg Tibourg
75004 Paris, France

Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures.

Install WebApp on iPhone
Install WebApp on Android