Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Photography of Olivier Valsecchi

Oliver Vallsecchi is a French photograph who was born in Paris in 1979.  He studied photography at the ETPA Photography School in Toulouse, France. His works center around the themes of death, birth, rebirth and maternity.

Revealed to the public eye in 2010 by  Dust,  This series earned him the prestigious Hasselblad Masters Award two years later. He was then asked to conceive a new series on the theme: Evoke. Hence the birth of Klecksography, organic sculptures created by symmetrically articulated bodies. Valsecchi's inspiration for this series is drawn from the works of Swiss Psychiatrist Rorschach, whose method implied using imagery created by ink-stains on a piece of paper then folded into two. Where the latter used their interpretation by patients to diagnose schizophrenia or dementia, Valsecchi 's approach is the opposite.

The one he calls his interior foe - this dark side in each one of us which we try to constantly restrain- is given full freedom of expression, and the ability to overcome bodily constraints. During two months, in a derelict hangar beating to the tribal rhythms of Kate Bush's album The Dreaming, he  pushes himself and his models over the brink of exhaustion, reaching out for total burnout. At that climactic point, the mind disincarnates itself from the body, leaving behind a mechanical flesh and bone entity, bereaved of any will-power: except that of the photographer's dictates, or , rather, those of his sub-consciousness.

Time of War

Incarnation remains the main theme in Valsecchi's oeuvre. Thus he decided to dive into his Dust series once again, whilst adding a parameter to it:  a soul of their own. Deliberately choosing to set the second part of his I Am Dust saga in a former arms factory, this autobiographic project is on the theme of incarnation and Samsara. Whereas the first part illustrated the photographer's cosmology, Time of War liberates those chaos-spawned creatures. The title, inspired by the Prado Museum's 2008 Exhibition: Goya in Times of War which commemorated the War of Independence, equally portrays this crying-out for emancipation. From then on, Characters have a history, and are out to conquer. Their bodies tense, each mote of muscle tissue contracts itself, shoulders heave. The primeval ash, this very element which has transiently crossed through the cycles of life and death, seems to burst out in an explosion of effort, unless this be the final agonizing breath of these Ovidian heroes. This is about survival.


Olivier Valsecchi’s new Drifting series is a journey through art history where each picture merges the tradition of the reclining nude with the still life painting genre from Flanders. Faithfully devoted to his chiaroscuro approach of light, straightforward sense of composition and muted color schemes, Valsecchi replaces baroque floral arrangements and the overlapping motif of Memento Mori by pale bodies, in order to create what he calls a Flesh Vanitas. His taste for eerie atmospheres draws the viewer into paradoxical tableaux where flowing movement and dumb stillness mysteriously interact.

From Korea to New York, his work never ceases to arouse the interest of the international press  (Réponses Photo, FR; Le Figaro Beaux-Arts, FR; Le Monde, FR; Orlando Weekly, US; Santa Fe Art Magazine, BR; Eyemazing, ND; Zoom, IT; Rooms, UK; Blink, KR; Arte Fotografico, ES; Image in Progress, IT; Profifoto, DE; etc.) as much as that of curators   (Promenades Photographiques de Vendôme, Festival Européen de la Photographie de Nu en Arles, Fotofever Paris and Brussels, Centre Atlantique de la Photographie in Brest).

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The Photography of Olivier Valsecchi

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