2011 Fotografia, Rome International Photography Festival
Nélida Nassar 10.12.2011
The Villa Medici in Rome welcomes the serene work of the French photographer
Eric Poitevin, a former resident of the French Academy in Rome until January 15, 2012.
The exhibition is a selection of forty black and white photographs representing portraits
of Religieuses (nuns), still life and landscapes. The Villa Medici, a masterpiece of the Renaissance, overlooking the city of Rome from the Pincio, is the ideal setting for the hieratic profiles of nuns, immortalized in the Eternal City in the late 1980s by Poitevin.
These timeless, humanistic profiles have an uncanny resemblance to the portraits that made the glory of the Rinascimento in Florence. They create a striking contrast with the classical nudes exhibited in the successive Villa’s halls. Poitevin’s photographs are imperfect bodies captured without artifice, with faces devoid of any false smiles. They are miles away from the retouched photographs one encounters in actual, glossy magazines.
In addition to portraits and nudes, Eric explores two additional classical art form genres: still life and landscapes. Photographed on a monochromatic background, the still life portrays images of birds that paradoxically vibrate with intense life: the flowing fresh blood brings to mind Bacon’s still life paintings. Hence, the British painter is ever present in the photograph of a bleeding, hunting trophy hanging from a meat hook.
At the unforgettable top of the Villa staircase, a deer photographed on a whitewashed background seems to pose for posterity. The last section of the exhibition refers back to the Renaissance themes and is reminiscent of the Western art traditions of vanitas. This series represents a skull in black and white, snapped out from every possible angle. Each
image is suffused with beautiful light but is clinically rendered, attesting to Poitevin’s interest in biology, a discipline he contemplated studying before taking on photography.
A static serenity emanates from his photographs, which convey timelessness
Eric Poitevin, 50, lives and works in rural Mangiennes in the Meuse, in the East of France. Several shows have been devoted to his work. In 2004, he exhibited at the Fracile de-France and Le Plateau in Paris; in 2007 at the Museum of Hunting and Nature in Paris and in various galleries: the Nelson-Freeman in Paris, Blacpain in Geneva and Baronian-Francey in Brussels. He was a resident of the Villa Medici in 1989 – 1990. This show is organized in partnership with Fotofrafia, Rome International Photography Festival that occurs from September 23 to October 23, 2011.
Originally Published in Berkshire Fine Arts