Tag Archives: Photography

Oh deer

I discovered this photo at an exhibition of work by Korean artist Ahae, The show, which is supported by the Louvre takes place in a purpose-made tardis-like building, reminiscent of a bird-watching hut. You can find it in the Jardin de Tuileries.

The epicentre of the exhibition is an oval room which takes inspiration from the nearby l’Orangerie museum’s display of Monet Water lilies, which is appropriate as the colours and patterns in Ahae’s photos instantly remind you of Impressionist brush-strokes. This is interesting as although we normally associate photography with its capture of reality, this exhibition reminds us that the image taken by a lens is just as subjective as a painting, especially with today’s technologically powerful camera equipment. It must be added though, that although Ahae uses state-of-the-art telescopic lenses, he stays away from manipulation of lighting and software such as Photoshop.

But real or hyper-real, these photographs are beautiful, they sweep you away to another place, to an enchanted garden. Soothing music and a relatively quiet gallery make the whole experience, as they say in France ‘zen’.

Large print format is often used to create the effect that you are actually looking through Ahae’s window. In the field he sees from his house, he observes nature in action; magpies picking on a baby deer, a flock of herron in flight, the shimmering rising sun. The initial impact was so overwhelming, I’m definitely going back for another look.

However, the incredible moments Ahae captures were not down to luck, Ahae took two million photos over a period of three years, and the result is far from repetitive, there is so much to see.

100 words on Ahae

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1941, where Ahae’s family were located during Japanese colonial rule. At the end of WW2 he returned to his homeland in South Korea where he has spent most of his life.

He holds a black belt in Taekwondo, is highly trained in Judo, and has developed his own martial art. He started his own business at 35, inventing innovative products, holding over 1,000 patents and trademarks.

He has always worked to make sure his business activity does not harm the environment and is now focused on organic farming. He took up photography in the 1970s.

Photo © 2011 Ahae Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

AHAE, ‘Through my window’ at the Jardin des Tuileriesuntil August 19th Free entry

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Backlash

Untitled (lash) 2008  © Cris Bierrenbach

This photo is currently on display in the Eloge du Vertige exhibition – which shows photographs from Brazil’s Itaú Collection at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie Ville de Paris (known by its friends as the MEP) until 25th March.

Itaú’s is a really rich collection of photographs, spanning the work of Brazilian artists over the last sixty years. I know very little about Brazilian art, so the exhibition was an education for me. My expectations, perhaps narrow-mindedly, included happy gatherings, bright colours, carnival scenes etc. I felt very ignorant as I walked around the dark, gloomy, gritty and often unsettling images in this show.

The works in this collection seem to fit into two camps, the first following the art movements and trends of European art, Man Ray and surrealism for example, whilst the other half are more inward-looking, artists who are either criticizing, celebrating or differentiating Brazilian culture and its artistic traditions.

This photo by Cris Bierrenbach is the cover girl of the show, used on all the marketing material and catalogues etc. I can see why, it’s an unforgettable image and one of the more universal pictures in the collection i.e. it will sell well in the gift shop. However, looking on Bierrenbach’s website his work can get a little transgressive (not for the squeamish).

Society’s concept of the ‘beautiful woman’ and the pressure on women to fit this ideal seems to be a key theme in his work, for example his video performance Identidade from 2009 which completely deconstructs the idea of makeover.

So this photograph could either be interpreted as a surreal exaggeration of a beautiful woman, a mythical eyelash creature perhaps, or it could be Bierrenbach criticising women’s quest for perfection. We’ll never discover which is true, but what I want to know is, how did he do it? I hope Photoshop is involved otherwise it must’ve been pretty painful!

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Bonjour Paris!


As well as blogging about the art I’ve seen on my adventures around Paris, I’m now also writing reviews of contemporary art exhibitions in the city as Arts Editor at Large for online travel magazine BonjourParis.com. So far my reviews include a photojournalism exhibition by Jane Evelyn Atwood at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and Paris-Delhi-Bombay, a group exhibition exploring artists’ perceptions of India at Centre Pompidou. Please go and say bonjour!

Image: Pierre et Gilles, Hanuman, 2010

Courtesy of Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris

©ADAGP Paris, 2011

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