Galerie Miranda presents the second solo exhibition by artist Laura Stevens, entitled ‘Tu oublieras aussi’ (You will also forget).
One of the most solicited portrait photographers, in her personal projects Stevens explores a resolutely feminine and contemporary point of view of the private sphere, questioning notions of desire, the passing of time, solitude and loss, the connection between the artist and her subject. For her first exhibition at Galerie Miranda, Corps d’hommes (2020), Stevens presented her perspective on the male nude, photographed in the private space of her Paris apartment bedroom. For this second exhibition, she pursues her questioning of the intimate sphere but this time considers two bodies, lovers, and what binds them, asking herself the question of the memory of desire and how to represent it.
Until now, the history of erotic photography has largely been written by and for men (Araki, Newton, Molinier, Mapplethorpe…), for the most part with explicit and performative images within a dominant-dominated framework. Several women photographers have made a mark in this territory but in general with a transgressive or militant posture (Krull, Natalia L, Ionesco, Cahun) that doesn’t fundamentally offer an alternative to the status quo. Fortunately, the list is longer of important women artists in other fields of photography – documentary, conceptual and experimental.
Confronted by the weight of these historical signatures, Laura Stevens quietly follows her own path, one that is feminine, free and egalitarian. In the tradition of Anglo-Saxon women photographers of the private sphere, such as Jo Ann Callis, Nan Goldin, Lise Sarfati and Mona Kuhn, Laura Stevens proposes a sensual and considered universe in color with compositions whose hushed ambiance betray an emotional and erotic tension. Her cinematographic images express the interstices of desire, unfinished moments. The new exhibition at Galerie Miranda is thus conceived like a series of film stills, fragmented memories of a precise moment, real or dreamed: a place, a gesture, a shaft of light. Nature is present, reminding us of our infinite smallness. Bodies are shown simply; desire is everywhere yet invisible.
As she left Casanova once and for all, Henriette, his great love, scratched on a carriage window with a diamond ring the phrase “You will also forget”. Tattooed on the arm of Laura Stevens’ lover, the phrase reminds her of the essential paradox of desire: both written on our skin and destined to be forgotten.
Lying on his chest I see those three words – “Tu oublieras aussi” (You will also forget) – tattooed on his inner left arm. Those words that have haunted me. Will I forget you? Will you forget me? What memories will that remain? I remove myself from the present tense and look ton our scene from above, wrapped in each other in the dark. Remember this, we whispered below. Our bodies, our boundaries, that, in rapture, overflowed. And, within our skin, to our separateness, we returned. Did you leave a mark, so I’ll find my way home?
I turn to others. Tell me how you hold your desire. Is it contained, accommodating, quiet? Is it fluid, feral, fearless? What are we allowed to long for, what are we allowed to do? Do you see the colour blue too? All this longing in this small space; of flesh, love and possible futures. How it is slippery in our grasp, forever retreating and transforming and erupting.
For years I’ve looked at those words, trying to prove them wrong. But there is nothing to do. We will forget, yet still, we must hold on. — Laura Stevens
Laura Stevens (British, b. 1977) is a photographer based in Paris. Stevens’ practice lies at the intersection of the female gaze and the personal. Beginning autobiographically, her reflections are translated through the direct act of looking, using figurative and landscape subjects to create still and moving images imbued with a distinct visual tension. She explores the notion of the private space and the interdependency between emotions and environmental surroundings. The relationship between the artist and subject matter is central to her work, using this connection to create studies on solitude, intimacy, loss and longing.
Her work has been shown in museums, galleries and festivals internationally and has received many distinctions including that of finalist of the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie in 2019. Her photographs have been published by the British Journal of Photography, Wired, Variety, The Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Libération and Télérama. She received her BA from the Leeds Metropolitan University and her MA from the University of Brighton.
Artist website : www.laurastevens.co.uk
Laura Stevens : Tu oublieras aussi
from 11 May to 30 June 2023
21 rue du Château d’Eau
75010 Paris France