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Galerie Parallax : Denis Brihat : Aux petits oignons…


The Parallax gallery presents the exhibition Aux petits oignons… (with greatest care) cooking expression about onions by Denis Brihat.

“The onion is a star and a cell, a branch and a fold of flesh. Its structure reflects its genetics growth, it is a precise ripening. Its color hard to define, reflected in the gold tones made on the silver prints, creates a hue that only that of a skin can evoke: a membrane that has become a surface, a foliation that has become an adornment, a color that is just as much a material.” – Excerpt from the text by Michel Poivert

Denis Brihat first practiced reportage and illustration photography. In 1957, his work carried out in India earned him the Niépce award in 1957.

He opened the way to a generation of photographer-authors. He is one of the first to campaign for photography to be recognized as an artistic expression in its own right, thanks to careful prints, numbered with few copies and often large format.

In 1958, the photographer left the capital to lead a frugal life close to nature in the Luberon. There he made significant encounters like Pablo Picasso or Fernand Léger with whom he participated in the Espace Group, bringing together artists and architects with the same ambition, that of the unity of art.

Regularly invited to the United States, he was one of the first French photographers exhibited by John Szarkowski in 1967 at MoMA in New York, with his friends Jean-Pierre Sudre and Pierre Cordier.

Denis Brihat is also a fervent supporter of a democratic promotion of photography. He participates in exhibitions at the Agathe Gaillard gallery, one of the first photography galleries in Paris, that opened in 1975. He is among the founders of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles festival with Lucien Clergue, and participated to The adventure of the Château d’eau in Toulouse with Jean and Michel Dieuzaide.

Over the years, Denis Brihat has developed his line of visual research: the careful study of nature and more particularly of the plant world. In particular, he sees his garden, which he cultivates with passion, as a metaphor for the world. Nourished by philosophy and literature, the artist is fascinated by the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He transposes the musical system of counterpoint in order to create, from the same motif – a vegetable, a flower, a tree etc. -, a real polyphony. A great admirer of Edward Weston, close to the American photographers Aaron Siskind, Paul Caponigro and Irving Penn, Denis Brihat photographs as close as possible to his subject of study – lichens, onions, poppies. Abstraction and fragment form the basis of his visual syntax. The transition from microcosm to macrocosm is as important for him as that from black and white to color. His astonishing photographs, printed in black and white and then toned with a multiplicity of metals and pigments to get as close as possible to natural color, bear witness to his experimental audacity. Denis Brihat affirms the materiality of the print and seeks excellence.

A transmitter of images and know-how, he quickly established a reputation for his technical standards: photographers from all over the world came to follow the master’s teaching in his house-workshop in Bonnieux, like the photographer Jean-Marc Bustamante, impressed by the originality of Denis Brihat and the way in which, very early on, he chose to highlight the pictorial and ornamental quality of photography.


Denis Brihat : Aux petits oignons…
From February 8 to March 16, 2024
3 rue des Epinaux
13100 Aix en Provence

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