Galerie Gradiva, Paris
November 3rd – 29th, 2017
Opening November 2nd, 6-9pm
As part of the Photo Saint Germain Festival, Galerie Gradiva is pleased to announce Shadows, a collaboration by Alexandra Grant and Keanu Reeves.
“Alexandra Grant’s drawings first came into dialogue with Keanu Reeves’s poetry in Ode To Happiness, published by Steidl in 2011. Five years later, the artists renewed their collaboration with Shadows (Steidl, 2016), in which photographs and poetic writing meld in a single work of art.
Shadows is a photosensitive encounter between an artist-photographer and an actor-poet. In a ritual dance, he offers up to her gaze his feelings, failures, wounds, and raw power. His shadow is born from light. Rather than obscuring the light he moves incessantly around her and her camera’s lens. His shadow shapes and reshapes itself, taking the form and telling the story of an ancient deity, an errant ghost, a beast and an eternal source of light, warmth and protection.
In Shadows she allows us to see his body’s double, his soul, which cannot be captured otherwise. Shadows are truths from beyond our present moment, from time immemorial, the time of myth. They are a subtle presence which invite us, as viewers, to understand that the hereafter is here and now; they provide us a possible telepathic link across the depths of what we fear encountering most, our desire.
His shadow never ceases moving or lets itself be caged or trapped in one pose or another. His hands are those of a earth-bound magician, one who transforms clay into tiny figures that become men when he breathes life into them. There is neither darkness nor guile in the shadow; it emanates white or colored light, auguring only possibility. From the perspective of her lens, his shadow doesn’t haunt or glide by like a ghost; it flickers like a fire full of life, a crackling force. As an image, it doubles upon itself, superimposes one iteration upon another as an optical illusion, a game, the trace of an apparition.
His shadow reveals itself to be fragile, wavering across the liminal bounds of our present, ready to disappear at any moment. To capture this vulnerability the artist stays open and aware, but at a safe distance, ready to tame, assuage, and reassure the shadow with her camera and her self that he won’t become prey, that she will preserve his liberty to come and go at any moment.
Seeing Shadows is like hearing a long poem recited in the dancing of two bodies, one tangible, the other ethereal. The lyrics are delivered like a prayer from the depths, a prophetic song filled with light that reveals what we, as humans, do not know yet.”
— Valérie Fougeirol, Curator of the exhibition.
All photos by Benoit Fougeirol.