The Galerie Parallax in Lourmarin is offering a fresh look at three photographers of the human body: Pierre-Jean Amar, Sook Shin, Florence Verrier. Be they young, old, feminine, masculine, the exhibition brings out their presence, their materiality.
The paradox of the nude: to hide the body to show it better. To do that, the photographer leaves it in shadow, keeping only a curve or other female attributes: a pubic fleece, the tip of a breast… At the start, the body is fully displayed, in complete nudity affronted by the light. Then it has to be shielded by plunging it into soft half-light, wrapping it in a protective sheet, to make it forget the burning of the photons.
It has to be rendered almost abstract, emptied of any referent of its too cumbersome materiality so that it becomes this sensual balance of light and shade that are Pierre-Jean Amar’s nude photographs. The model will have lost her face and all signs of her real identity to blend into the anonymity of first names: Liliane, Corinne, Ghislaine, Maïté… For each of them goes back to their encounters – sometimes for a single posing session, sometime repeated until they become familiar – for nearly thirty years.
In the intimacy of the half-light and the fragment, at is actually the shadow from a whole other conflict that is taking shape on the body-screen: that of pearls or nodes of light from various curtains engaging with the illumination penetrating the silent space of the room transformed into a studio. The shadows clothe the body with so many metaphors; they become an enormous tattoo, a mysterious animal with a dappled skin, a dune-like landscape… The sculptural beauty only obliterates for a moment the suffering of the soul and the wear and tear of time. In his laboratory, when the shadows on the mirror-like, blank sheet of photographic paper slowly return to the surface, the photographer is reminded of the brief encounters of Eros and Psyche.
Jacques Terrasa is a professor of the history of photography and the cinema at the Université de Provence. He lives and works in Marseille.
Pierre-Jean Amar, Sook Shin, Florence Verrier
From 14th April to 8th July 2018
1 Rue Henri Sarret