Anima(l)

Olivier Richon

15 november> 24 december 2008

Bendana Pinel Art Contemporain presents the photographic works of the Swiss artist Olivier Richon, actually living in London. The artist is pursuing his researches about the artifice of representation.

Anima(l) consists of photographs of a parrot, a monkey and dogs, arranged in the context free space of the photographic studio: a windowless space in which light, as in some baroque spaces, comes from above or from behind. This produces a stillness, a slowness and a certain weight to the photograph. The animal becomesinanimate by the device of photography. Yet such stillness transforms the animal into the fiction of a pensive beast. It allows to reformulate a fashionable question of the Enlightment concerning the presence or absence of the soul, the anima, of the animal.

The photographic work of Richon shown at the Galerie Bendana Pinel continues the artist’s use of photography as an investigation of the artifice of representation. If the earlier work used animals as quotations and references to other images , the recent work is more concerned with the animal directly.

“In certain works of Olivier Richon, the scenes presented seem not only timeless, but almost airless, as if everything presented exists in a vacuum, divorced from any kind of context, removed to a space of the imaginary or the _ctional. The intense arti_ce and stasis of the tableau insists: this selection of objects, this arrangement, must be meaningful. Nothing is self-explanatory: in opposition to the common sense view of the photograph as evidence, a shadow-mark of a real (passing) event, here there is authorial intention, historical context, a set of meanings which require interpretation. At the same time the works resists interpretation, by refusing the self evidence of photography, eschewing the obvious.” Leslie Dick, The Discovery of Curiosity, in Real Allegories - Olivier Richton, Steidl Verlag, 2006.

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