Opening: Thursday, April 27, 2017, 19-22h
Exhibition: April 28 – June 15, 2017
Opening hours: Thu-Sat 12-18h, and by appointment
Young people with fixed gazes, closed architectural forms, rocks, strange, abstract artworks in public space, and, over and over again, the female nude bathed in the light of southern France are the motifs presented in Camille Vivier’s exhibition La Frontale. The photographs were taken in the port city of Hyères and its surrounds, located on the Mediterranean coast in southern France. The Villa Noailles, which puts on the Festival de Mode et de Photographie every year, asked Camille Vivier to spend a year in the Hyères region documenting it artistically. For the Paris-born photographer it was an opportunity to return to an area she knows well: at the age of twenty she received an award from the Festival de Mode et de Photographie and has since then exhibited her work on two other occasions at Villa Noailles. Vivier shot the images with a Polaroid-, single-lens reflex-, and digital camera. From April 28 to June 15, 2017, a selection of images from the series created in Hyères is on view at the Galerie für Moderne Fotografie.
La Frontale – the exhibition title is full of nuance and alludes to two essential features of Camille Vivier’s photography: man and architecture, or the monument. The name of an architectural ensemble in Toulon, built in 1953, serves as the backdrop to the title of the series, La Frontale.
The La Frontale complex is located directly on the port of Toulon, its enormous row of buildings stretching out along the shore: La Frontale. At the same time, to Camille Vivier, La Frontale might tell the story of a young heroine. A young heroine confronting the world with open eyes. As such, La Frontale chronicles both actual, architectural language as well as human character. Given that both – form and man – are central motifs in Vivier’s photography, the ambiguity of the title fits seamlessly into the narrative of her images. In fact, Vivier’s images, full of ambivalence and suggestion, often come across like isolated, frozen moments of a dreamlike and perhaps even a surreal storyline.
For the series, Camille Vivier focused in particular on the youth from the Hyères region.
Commenting on the transitional ages of the teens, the photographer remarks that to her it is the most enticing phase of life. It is full of contradictions, melancholy, boundaries, ambivalence, and hope. The conflicting feelings and the intimacy of coming of age can be seen in Vivier’s portraits of the young people. Many of her portraits are nudes of young women looking into the camera. Their facial expressions are demanding, gentle, and skeptical at the same time. With the juxtaposition of thing and man, the interplay between living beings and abstract form, Vivier presents the strangeness of things in the world.
Camille Vivier was born in Paris in 1977 and first studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. Later she transferred to the École supérieure d’art in Grenoble and to St Martin’s School in London. Since beginning her artistic and professional career, Camille Vivier has operated at the interface between art and fashion. Her images have been featured in magazines such as Purple Magazine, I-D, Dazed & Confused, Another, and Numéro, and her clients include Stella McCartney, Martin Margiela, Cartier, Isabel Marant, and others.
In addition to commercial assignments, Vivier works on independent artistic projects. Her photographs and artist’s books have been exhibited in galleries and exhibitions in Paris, Berlin, London, New York, and Los Angeles.
A selection of the photo series Les Hyéroglyphes made in Hyeres, is now being presented as La Frontale in the Galerie für Moderne Fotografie. A bilingual catalog (engl./frz.) was published for the exhibition.
Text: Constanze Hager