“California Dream” is the confrontation of two artistic visions on the world of surfing. We wanted to produce this exhibition because many of our collectors are attracted by the sea, and more particularly by the Atlantic coast. We will show the vintage side of the surf with the photographs of Jeff Divine and a more arty side with those of François Fontaine. The two works meet each other perfectly and give us the freshness & coolness of surfers who have been fascinating for decades. “Kowabunga !!! ”
Jeff Divine was born in 1950 in San Diego and grew up in La Jolla, California. Passionate about surfing, he began to take his first pictures of surfers in the 60s. In 1971 “Surfer Magazine” hired him and sent him all over the world to cover the best surf spots. He remained a photographer for 35 years for “Surfer Magazine” and “Surfer’s Journal”. Jeff Divine now owns one of the largest collections of surf photography from 1970 to 2009.
François Fontaine, born in Paris in 1968, is a doctor in Art History. He is passionate about travel and photography he made dreamlike chromatic series inspired by Eastern cultures for twenty years. For the last ten years he has been exploring the theme of individual and collective memory, drawing inspiration from cinema and painting. His hypnotic and timeless images, made from screenings of films and documentaries, are an invitation to iconic domestic journeys. His series “California Dream” brings us to the seaside world of surfers in California in the 60s, a symbol of the American dream …
California Dream invites you on a journey into the seaside world of Californian surfers of the 1960s, a highlight of the American dream before it gets lost in the exacerbation of racial tensions and the radicalization of disputes.
The photographs of François Fontaine interpret the films and documentaries devoted to surfing, the sources having shaped the myth.
Thus revisited, their images gain in intensity, reveal themselves symbolic and timeless. The bright colors suggest the Technicolor of the time and the pop art chromos by David Hockney. The blur shifts the photos into a pictorial register evoking Seurat or Hopper. The Californian dream then appears as a nebulous decor, inhabited by actors engraved in our memories, but whose faces have been forgotten: evanescent silhouettes, cool and glamorous figurines, soon the puppets of the Vietnam War.
Discovering surfing in Hawaii in 1907, Jack London evokes “a king’s sport”, gods riding “foaming monsters”. Half a century later, in California, the epicenter of surf culture, the practice is a symbol of freedom, adventure and sensuality. In a materialistic and morally rigid America, it advocates a way of life disconnected from consumerism: a powerful relationship with nature, a quest for adrenaline in communion with the wave, a hedonistic ideal in tune with the liberation of morals.
Muscular and tanned, the photogenic beach boys are a golden subject for the media and Hollywood. The Surf way of life and its iconic images is distributed all over the world on a pop-rock soundtrack: waiting astride on the board, the beautiful kids streaking the wave in group, the long boards stacked on the van, and the girls in bikinis …
Sea, sex and sun.
May 9 to June 9, 2019
4 rue Léonce Reynaud