Intuition, as a mode of revealing the unspeakable, often takes the form of a feeling of evidence. It is this effect of shock, of sudden, unmistakable knowledge, that Michel Follorou‘s photographic work delivers in this unprecedented exhibition. In thirty photographs, the artist shares with us what his eye essentially collects from the fleeting effects of light and colors on matter.
For 10 years, Michel Follorou, tirelessly, and with rare consistency, has been photographing the same square meter of the wall of a church in Brittany, capturing the inimitable beauty of the light from the stained glass windows projected, like painted pictures, onto the stone.
Michel Follorou knows how to seize it, capture the subtle rays and make it his subject, to the point of drying up the source of this poor wall.
By his mastery of forms he widens the simple framework and reveals the unspeakable to us. His photographs express joy, depth, the quest for the source, thus creating a raw, total, finished work.
He shows us here, magnificently, to quote Susan Sontag, that photographs which cannot explain anything by themselves are inexhaustible incentives to deduce, to speculate and to fantasize.
Excerpts from a text by Michel Onfray written on the artist Michel Follorou
“When photography appears in the Western world, we discover that it is paradoxically a primitive instrument made possible by modern technology. Primitive because, the etymology says so, it is writing writing by light, writing with light. Modern because it takes the chemicals that allow the alchemy of the developer at the origin of the epiphany of reality fixed on the glass then the paper. Michel Follorou takes this path of writing the world with light and fixing the dynamics of the world in the frozen moment of a photo.”
“To look at what we never look at with the complicity of the stained glass window which speaks in silence and teaches us the basic truths of all wisdom, is to carry out the work not of a philosopher who seeks but of a wise man who finds and who knows. These photographs are those of a surface of only one square meter, but they manage at the same time to inform us about the two infinities of Pascal: a sight of the infinitely small which an electron microscope would obtain which would enter into the detail of the atoms, a view from the infinitely large of a giant telescope that digs into the bowels of universes rustling silently millions of light-years away. The grain of the stone, the texture of the wall, the roughness of the plaster, the leprous crust of the wall, the striated smoothness obtained by the tools of men, the efflorescence of the mushroom of humidity, the small holes and the scars, masonry angles, all this hollows out the light, reflects it, diffracts it, reinforces it, absorbs it, deflects it. The skin of this stone is the skin of the world which is also ours. This light is born, lives, grows, moves, sparkles, decreases, fades, fades, disappears, dies. Every day is the same, every year is the same, every century is the same, every millennium is the same. From time to time, because there are clouds or not, because the sun is strong or is overcast, because it is raining or the weather is dry, we have the illusion of a difference. In fact, the detail does not matter because what matters is the truth of the eternal return. Our lives are sometimes in the sun or in the rain, covered or exposed, wet or dry, but these are just accidents, details. The life of these colored lights are similar to ours, no more, no less. Beyond good and evil. The only difference is that this red doesn’t know it exists while we do. In this tiny difference is lodged all the activity of men.”
Michel Follorou : Intuitions
from June 8 to 18, 2023
Hôtel de l’Industrie
4, Place Saint-Germain des Prés