Visible Ephemeral, Invisible Eternal
by Yann CHATELIN et Alexandre DUPEYRON
/// Avant propos
If writing is the art of formulating what cannot be said, then photography is the art of showing what cannot be seen. In Greek, “photography” is literally translated as “writing with light”. Light painting, therefore, can be seen as a means to capture the essence of photography. Light is a pillar for creation and destruction. It enables us to see but it can also blind us. It reveals and rejuvenates, but it can also annihilate. Photography perfectly captures the antagonism between the Yin and Yang that light possesses. Well-exposed photography only comes alive with the right balance of light.
The art of light painting is ephemeral – it is invisible to the naked eye – it only becomes tangible once it is fixed on a light-sensitive prop. Light painting utilizes only a subtle amount of light. Dynamism in light painting comes through explorations in space of color, density and transparency of light. The strokes are irreversible. Therefore, it requires precise photographic skills, spatial sensitivity and a perfectly choreographed performance to achieve the desired effects of the final photography.
The history of light painting can be traced back to Man Ray’s self-portraits, Space Writings (1939), where a series of loops and swirls were created in front of his camera with a penlight. Pablo Picasso also created some light drawings, in 1949, where his focal point for art and style of imagery were drawn with a flashlight.
/// The Artists
Yann is a painter and urban calligrapher, specialized in painting large scales and composed sizes. Yann evolved from graffiti writing to traditional painting mediums including acrylic and Chinese ink. He then swopped his spray cans for the Persian calligraphy bamboo pen, the Qalam Ney. Yann currently lives in Morocco and has worked with Arabic lettering for the last six years, deconstructing and reinventing its curves and lines. He also had numerous exhibitions in Marrakech and Casablanca.
Alexandre is a photographer and light painter. He has traveled the world for the past 6 years using his camera lens to capture the essence of each cityscape he encountered. Light painting, however, is his chosen artistic expression. Alexandre arrived in Singapore in 2010 and expanded his practice photographing Asiatic culture. This led to his fascination with the beauty and forms of Chinese sinographs. Alexandre’s eye for composition and his sensitivity to an ever-changing environment earned him exhibitions in many places. He exhibited most notably a large work on the Darfur conflict in Sudan at The European Council (2006) and The World Centre for Peace in Verdun, France (2007).
Both artists strived to achieve perfect synergy in order to be inspired by, and to react to, the elements of their specific environment. This is the convergence of more than four years of experimentation and exploration as they continue to realize their artistic visions.
They recently exhibited in Design and Cook Gallery in Marrakech (2009), Villa Houda in Casablanca (2010) and in Vue privée Singapore (2010).
They are currently funded by Fresh Foundation to produce this series of work, which has been exhibited in Octobre in Metz. It will be exhibited in Casablanca in the Gallery Nadar this March and in Paris in the Gallery Lazarew in September.
/// Current Exhibition
Spirit and knowledge only ride out life. Knowledge is nothing but the heritage of writing.
This new series was inspired by Arabic calligraphy and Chinese sinographs; the writing systems of two of the oldest civilisations. The universal language crafted by Yann and Alexandre’s light paintings can be seen as a metaphor for knowledge that only photography can capture.
Each space is meant to emphasize the time’s imprint showing the vulnerability of the visible. The fluidity of light is fused with the environment and corresponds to the materiality of the chosen site.