EXHIBITIONS 

 

EXPOSITION / INSTALLATION IN SITU BANGKOK.

 

L’Alliance française de Bangkok accueille l’installation in situ du photographe Philippe Moisan et du plasticien designer Rush Pleansuk,  dans le cadre d’une mise à disposition annuelle de ses espaces pour des artistes aux prises avec Bangkok, laboratoire du monde qui vient, dans les boucles de ce qu’il fut.

 

 

Philippe Moisan pratique la dérive urbaine. Il lui est nécessaire de se perdre et photographier dans le chaos de la mégapole pour qu’en surgisse du sens, furtif et fragmentaire,  comme une preuve d’existence. C’est alors que la ville fait signe. Bangkok est le laboratoire dissonant dont le photographe est le révélateur nomade.

 

Les photos sont comme des instants de conviction concrète, des impressions vitales, au cœur de l’incessant processus de destruction création qu’incarne la mégapole asiatique. Elles se présentent comme des pauses dans l’hystérie urbaine, des preuves fragiles du sens recherché dans le vrac ambiant. Bien que Bangkok en soit le motif prégnant, elles paraissent sans sujet ni objet véritables, signant plutôt des moments de connivence, un rapport intense au lieu, un calme conquis sur le vacarme environnant, quand fusionnent le sujet et son objet, choses passées et présentes, proches et lointaines.  

 

Au final, la photographie témoigne d’une maîtrise classique du cadrage, des volumes et des lumières, jouant des vides et des pleins. Comme si elle répondait ainsi plus adéquatement au «désir de voir à quoi ressemble le monde en notre absence ».

 

Ce que serait le monde en notre absence est paradoxalement ce que nous avons sous les yeux, et ne voyons pas.  Le monde tel quel.  En l’occurrence Bangkok, le phénomène Bangkok.

 

Leviathan mondialisé, consumériste, saturée, comme toutes les mégapoles d’Asie, Bangkok est pourtant singulière. La ville verticale, prise dans ses masses de béton et de verre, à la modernité débridée, est doublée d’une cartographie ésotérique. Bangkok est une ville signée, à l’image de ses habitants, habités. Il suffit de suivre la gestuelle de recueillement des chauffeurs de taxi dans leurs trajets quotidiens, ou la foule d’un métro aérien, à tels points cryptés de la ville, pour sentir l’ampleur du phénomène. Ce passage soudain sur le plan des intersections spirituelles n’est pas un déni du réel. Bien au contraire, l’aura, la chose, et le lieu sont indissociables.

 

Dans la monstruosité urbaine, il y a des interstices, par où se faufile tout une vie humaine, animale, végétale, où frictionnent l’urbain et le rural, le béton et la plante, le liquide et le solide, où s’obstineune vie précaire, au pied des tours de verre. Ce sont en contrepoint des avenues mortifères les Soï, refuges matriciels et poches de résistances passives,  lieux d’échoppes, cuisines dehors, enfants, fruits, oiseaux, plantes, chiens, chambres de passage et de plaisir pour Eros nomade. Ce sont les Khlongs parfois murés qui résurgent aux pluies de mousson, et ramènent Bangkok aux eaux dont elle vient et dans lesquelles elle s’enfonce, sous le poids de ses tours. Deux ans suffisent à ce qu’une forêt résurgente perfore le béton d’une zone abandonnée.  Il y a cette vitalité laborieuse des rues de Bangkok, portée par ceux venus du Nord, de l’Est, et des marges. L’ange fait corps avec les rues de Bangkok, comme la jungle résurge dans la jungle des villes.  Il fait corps avec la verticalité de verre, les captations de ciels et d’orages, les paysages numériques dissolvants, ces myriades d’écrans qui bleuissent les corps et dessinent les lignes de fuite de ceux qui possèdent, se démarquent, et ainsi s’absentent.

 

Montrer comme disait Pasolini la réalité par la réalité. Le monde par réverbération. La photographie est spectrale. Le dehors qu’elle donne à voir se confond avec un paysage intérieur des plus reculé, jungles du Ça. L’ange est alors cette puissance intermédiaire transférant l’inconscient dans le paysage, à l’instant du déclenchement photographique. Ce moment panique du déclenchement, sorte de transfusion du dedansdehors, et vice versa, vibreencore dans le tirage photographique.

 

Philippe Moisan évoque souvent l’aspect martial de sa pratique photographique, un mélange de maîtrise et d’abandon, d’oubli de soi et d’imprégnation de l’objet, comme pour le tir à l’arc, afin que dans le vide vibrant, le monde fasse signe. La facture classique de ses photographies, ainsi que le choix de la pellicule, un certain ascétisme du rendu, renforcent cette impression de maîtrise qui ne veut en rien céder à l’immédiateté du numérique.

 

                                                    

La fascination de Rush Pleansuk pour l’architecture, l’habitat, la texture de Bangkok, sa genèse par couches depuis l’eau du fleuve et les rizières enfouies, jusqu’à l’emmurement des Khlongs qui devinrent les avenues, les tours de métal et de verre, la tessiture des cabanes au cœur même de la mégapole, et ces temples épars, parfois vaguement à l’abandon, sous des ficus que la furie urbaine a mystiquement épargnés, tous ces éléments influent sur les maisons des esprits conçues par l’artiste comme des figures totémiques, intercédant entre vivants et morts, passé et présent, vitesse urbaine et recueillement.

Avec un sens très sûr de la ligne qui jamais ne brise, il élève une à une, strate par strate, ses cabanes aux esprits, concrétions du visible et de l’invisible, à l’image de Bangkok sous Bangkok.

Il nous donne à toucher ce qui motive l’offrande, comme une pause sensorielle dans la grande transmigration où toutes les formes du vivant communient.

Ses stèles de vieux bois ou de béton figurent un habitat possible dans la ville qui broie et sauve tout aussi bien.

Dans l’espace clos d’une maison, elles concentrent l’aura perdue de choses et de paysages anciens, des présences diffuses aux entours des choses, comme le bonzaï fait signe vers une pinède abrupte qui serait l’essence de la pinède.

La contemplation est alors un phénomène sauvage, possible encore au cœur des mégapoles.

Tel est le défi de ces stèles qui répondent à un souci de remembrance (bois et rituels d’enfance, corps disparus des êtres aimés dont le meuble garde la substance et comme la trace des gestes), de temps retrouvé tels ces insectes oubliés dans l’ambre de l’arbre, de déclenchement sensorielet déflagration du souvenir (bois fumé d’un arrière pays de rizières et de jungles qui continue de hanter la ville, poli d’objets façonnés par un usage familial).  Il y a enfin le désir de réanimer autour de la chose sculptée, montée (même en béton) comme le serait une maison de bois, une présence humaine physique, corporelle. Comme les petits temples épars de Bangkok, les stèles sont vectrices de l’esprit du lieu.

 

                                                      

Avec une belle et délicate convergence, sans velléité, les photographies de Philippe Moisan et les maisons des esprits de Rush Pleansuk doucement nous restituent non pas un paysage disparu, mais celui de notre survie mentale dans le chaos ambiant. Quand vacants et disponibles, nous laissons être le monde. L’aura n’est pas un ailleurs, c’est le vague autour du lieu, le positionnement des choses, un vide qui respire, un jeu de lignes et de corps, le paysage dans le paysage, la géométrie d’un chantier, ce qui résiste dans l’impaysageable.

L’esprit vit mieux dans le chaos, au cœur de la grande accélération et déréliction planétaire qui voit désormaisl’impact de l’activité humaine sur quasiment tous les points du globe.

Dans la mégapole futuriste circule un esprit des bois et des sources.

 

Qui, marchant dans Bangkok, n’a pas été à l’affût des singularités qui lui arrivent ? De ce que l’on pourrait nommer des connivences. Un paysage instant.

 

 

Christian Mérer, Directeur de L'Alliance Française.

 

.

Booklet Ambassade-5.jpg

 

MASTER OF CONTRADICTIONS.

 

They say “opposites attract”. For French photography artist Philippe Moisan, the allure of opposite forces lies in the human mind.

    “I’m prone to thinking too much, and when I do my head is in chaos. I’m a very organized person and plan virtually everything ahead of time, which can be out of proportion,” the Paris-based photographer said. “The only time that I don’t plan and proceed without any concept in mind is when I take photographs. I let my heart and my feeling make decisions on the spur of the moment. Photographing is my way of balancing the head and the heart in a fun way.”

At the upcoming exhibition “Vacarmes,” Moisan will have his works featured. All new photographs which have never been shown anywhere else will be displayed for the first time in Thailand at the Ardel’s Third Place Gallery on Thonglor Soi 10 from 27 May to 6 July 2014.  Earlier, the French artist held two successful photography exhibitions in Paris, which received good reviews from the media such as Le Monde newspaper as well as art and photography magazines like Photo, Azart and Polka. 

Moisan named his new exhibition “Vacarmes,” a French word meaning noises or racket in English, to deliver a message to people that despite all the noises between their ears, at work or on the street, they can still find calmness. “The moment I press the shutter, I feel calm, and I can see light even when it’s dark out there,” said the 51-year-old life photographer. Such is reflected both in his color as well as black-and-white photographs.

Eleven years ago, Moisan was working as a photographer taking pictures for fashion magazines and advertising agencies. Deep down, he wished to take pictures of life as it is – the kind of still images that unpretentiously portray human nature, needs and wants. When opportunities arrived at 40, he quit commercial photography. He followed his heart and began travelling the world extensively pursuing his passion for life photography which he says carries universal messages that people anywhere can relate to. According to Moisan, these photographs communicate across cultures because they touch on the commonality of human beings i.e. irony or contradictory needs and wants that are present throughout a human life.  More than taking photographs, he wishes to share good feelings with fellow human beings and stimulates constructive thinking in the minds of the spectators. Moisan believes in heart-to-heart communication and does all his work with his two hands. He uses film cameras and develops all the films himself at a lab in Paris, and never uses digital technology to make photographs prettier than they actually are. 

“I’m not doing travel photography. What I’m doing is life photography which is symbolic,” Moisan said. “I don’t want people to look at my pictures and say ‘Oh! I know this is the Kyoto Tower or this is the Bridge on the River Kwai. I don’t want their perceptions of particular places interfere with their imagination or reflection.”

Measured 1 x 1.5 meters in size, his photographs are meant to bring hope and calmness – two non-material necessities that people need regardless of their race, nationality and geographical location. “My photographs do not have geographical attachment.  Trees, streams, cars, roads can be found anywhere,” said Moisan whose work took him to 28 countries and counting. “Rather, each one of them contains an element of universality common to all cultures, and which we all need at the core of our being.”

Moisan said he is attracted to the contradiction within humans, and tries to portray this universal truth through his photographic works. Take for example, the picture of people walking on a beach in Dubai. “This picture looks beautiful as well as funny. Instead wearing swimming suites, everybody is fully covered. One is carrying an umbrella, and hardly anybody is heading towards the sea. It was a surprise.”

Before heading out of his residence to take pictures, Moisan typically uses his left brain, organizing every detail and making sure that he has all camera tools ready.  However, when he actually arrives at the destination, which he never plans in advance which pictures to take, when, where or how, he will start using his right brain, and let his heart and artist’s feelings take the lead and make decisions. “I never have concepts about what photos to take, and I don’t arrange things or ask people to pose before I press the shutter button,” Moisan said.

“I want everything to happen natural. I have no idea what lies ahead that will inspire me to press the button and preserve beautiful moments on still images. It’s like falling in love. You can never know in advance when and what you will fall in love with.  But perhaps, I fall in love more often than most people,” he said, chuckling. 

 

Warangkana Tempati

 

Video

Unknown-2.png

 

 

 

 

 

PIECE OF MIND.

 

This month we are celebrating Philippe Moisan, 51, a talented French photographer, dreamer, with a piece of mind, who produces visual poetry. Born and raised in a family of Parisian artists, he is exhibiting his vision today at Ardel's Third Place Gallery (Thonglor Soi 10), through the eye of his lens. Once an admirer of Helmut Newton, who he met when he was young :"He captures people's vanity without them even realizing it!" he exclaims, while underlining that these people, the greats, like Newton, are people we copy in the beginning, before discovering ourselves. 

Strong and fond memory of the seventies in Paris ,"May 1968, end of disco, Flower Power, Woodstock!". The blustering parties at the Palace club with Jean Paul Gaultier- he shares an anecdote as we sip on our coffees : "My car crashed. It was a beautiful, expensive car and I was with two models…" 

 

Today he is a simple, though experienced man with an undeniable passion. His mind is an encyclopedia of culture. Having grown up in a cultured home and studied Egyptology, Art of East Asia, and Architecture of Renaissance at l'École du Louvre (the school of art history inside le Louvre museum, Paris) he surely has a lot to say.  Compare his artwork to the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, he will answer with a big smile. Philippe Moisan takes a lot from his family tree "My roots are what make me, who I am today". His godfather was the creative director of Publicis, and his parents, well,"My parents were gypsies. They listened to the Rolling Stones!". Politically engaged also, his grandfather was a journalist and illustrator at "Le Canard Enchaîné" for thirty years.

 

Moisan has explored the world from the forests of Brazil to buzzing cities like New York and now Bangkok. Calling himself a vagabond, the same lifestyle as the artists and writers of the 19th century : freedom and travel, for the past forty years. The artist abhors the commercial, despite having worked for an advertising company. It's only when he was lost on a Caribbean island that he truly revealed himself : "a libido for my eyes". Fashion photography occupied a great part of his career as well. In Brazil he worked for underground magazines like Sem Número (without number). In Miami he discovered the technique of numeric photography- he took classes though he hated it, learned by making mistakes, and preferred sticking to film. More precisely, he wanted to learn Black and White film, to rebel against the new trends of the time: "I learned numeric so I would know what I was talking about when speaking to clients." 

Le Monde, renowned French newspaper soon came asking him to collaborate while he was in Latin America, for their 'M' magazine. He shot portraits of the Embera-Wounaan, semi-nomadic indigenous in Panama, and constantly escaped to different places, without ever really knowing what he was searching for-other than a peace of mind. Before photography he gave lectures and lessons of art and art history. He quit commercial photography at 40 to pursue life photography.

 

His first solo exhibition in 2012 was for 'Paris Photo', the greatest annual event celebrating photography as an art; without a gallery:"I'm very choosy of where I go and who I work with". In photography too. A very meticulous technique is explored when it comes to Moisan, always loyal to his work. It is all manual for starters, and he prints only in specialized laboratories (in Paris, it is the Labo Picto in the area of Bastille), limiting himself to five editions of each. Some photographs will only be printed once "tirage unique" (1,85m x 2,28m), making them exclusive! The quality of image, is of course, the most important: 

 

"I would rather read Nietzsche, Spinoza or an American romanesque writer on an island; while swimming with fishes or riding my motorbike than do shit, and make people believe it's marvelous when I don't believe it myself." Other authors on his bookshelf : Paul Auster, Kerouac, Jim Harrison… 

 

Now about the exhibition : "Vacarmes" represents a series of numerated sensations. 

A paradox about Asia : "Bangkok right now reminds me of the vacarmes in my head-but meditation made me realize I had these vacarmes, it made me think about the impermanence of things…"

Vacarmes means clatter, noise, brouhaha, din, buzz… Beginning with a feeling of Solitude in a group of people, people who pass by : Passage. Reminding us that the hecticity of a city makes you solitary. Asphalts : roads and cars. Things that come and go: Reflux. Titans: portraits, but also Silence, Vertigo, Wait. Concrete: a fascination of the buildings- an impression that they grow out of the soil- a visually sublime volcanic impression. "Anything that is magnificent to the eyes is boring in photography." he says- insisting that his focus on lines and shadow gives depth- that there are always many details to capture. Ardel's Third Place Gallery presents a series of original black and white photographs that haven't (I guarantee) been seen anywhere else, as well as a (very) limited number in color. 

 

Philippe Moisan never ever edits his photographs, taken most often with a Fuji 6x9 camera. The most enjoyable for him, is to go somewhere, take a picture, and see it only two months later. He adds, "The best moments of love happen as you go up the stairs." (Clemenceau) The thrill and excitement of only being able to see it later, as the idea develops into his head. These shots are mainly landscapes. 

The portrait, well the portrait is difficult today, "we are in the Me society" he adds. The woman today invests in her disguise by choosing what she looks like on a portrait, some do it much better than others. The way Helmut Newton captured people's vanity : people had the impression of showing the photographer something, Newton found other things.  

 The trees, however come back to his theme of Waiting- waiting for Winter when it's still Autumn. That feeling is felt in the atmosphere of vegetation- waiting for it to change. The ocean, continuity of silence, and change. "Time and silence are the two only luxuries nowadays"

 

Philippe Moisan reaches the spirituality in nature in his photography. Asia has brought to him a minimalist vision. He is an admirer of Japanese art in particular (the way they set the focus on one little detail). Taoism is part of his beliefs as well : you can only succeed when it's your true nature speaking to you. Whenever you have an intention, you fail. Spirituality is instinctive- and when capturing nature, crucial. Going back to the stairs, it's important not to give importance to the result : "It's the travel that counts!" forgetting your intention. He compares this process to archery "you forget yourself, you forget your ego to get there" and psychoanalysis. The subconscious, your alter ego, that person inside you who drives you- especially in life photography (the non conceptual type). 

 

Philippe Moisan is also assimilated to impressionism. The mystical magic you find in the forests, bamboos "you're almost in a cathedral!" he says, his eyes filled with excitement. He tells me once a viewer of his work only realized that they were photos of trees after looking at four of them. 

 

"Photography accompanies my life" with flashbacks. He remembers the forests of Versailles (where the Sun King's castle is) and Rambouillet, beautiful landscapes in the outskirts of Paris. 

"Nothing is slower than a growing tree" : The impermanence of things brings us back to the ocean and the meaning given to diptychs and triptychs in this style of photography. The idea of calm after the storm, and storm before the calm. All of this is unnecessary for me to say , because you will see it in Philippe Moisan's photographs when you visit the exhibition. 

What is important to remember, is the search for peace, getting away from these vacarmes that title his show. When you experience a vacarme, you are invaded by thoughts that truly have no necessity. Listen to some Mozart or Wagner, during or before you visit, maybe google search Caspar David Friedrich's hazy forest paintings, you will get a pre-feel. Also, liberate yourself from any geographical attachment, as you will never guess where the photographs were taken. "Trees, streams, cars, roads can be found anywhere", his work took him 28 countries. Each photograph "contains an element of universality common to all cultures, and which we all need at the core of our being".

 

He lived in Berlin before the falling of the wall, discovered Mozart, Wagner and opened up to classical music, giving him today "a very good ear". He also enjoys music from the beat generation: The Beatles and Bob Dylan. A perfect illustration of the piece of peace in his mind. He encourages us all as viewers to lose ourselves in the stillness of time preserved in his photographs… One more inspirational quote from Philippe : "It's only when you risk wasting time that you gain it." Time to see for yourself.  

 

L'Officiel pages culture Julie Camdessus- April 16, 2014

 

 

Mercedes logo top.JPG

Paris 2012

Video