Olivier Perrot is a photographer with no camera, with no material and concrete instrument, but with certain devices such as paper and several chemical solutions that are necessary for the image to appear. Olivier Perrot creates photograms. All he has to do is put what he wishes to photograph on the sheet of paper, and let it there as long as necessary for the shape to leave an impression on the paper.
The photogram could be seen as the accomplishment of the secret wish expressed in each photograph: to be the capture of the object and guarantee its presence during the “shot”. This presence is nevertheless particular here. The bodies and objects impressed on the paper are not seized as they are, but they are distorted.
Once they are placed on the sheet of paper, they are not motionless. Even if they do not actually move, they contract and spread. The photograms do not show us a duplicated object, but a complex phenomenon that is taking place. The shapes stretch or seem to spread, their outlines are distorted and quiver in a particular way.
The limits of the objects become blurred, almost as if the process were actually taking place in front of us. They do not testify to the presence of the object: they show what traditional pictures generally cannot seize – the fact that the presence of a being or a thing is in reality made of an infinity of ungraspable moments. While the traditional picture, because it is supposed to see and show things as they are, eliminates these vacillations, the photogram records them. This is what defines the gestures performed thanks to the photogram, and we call it a gesture of dispersion.
In recent works, Olivier Perrot gives this gesture an additional dimension. He lets some dust or the rain fall on the sheet of photographic paper to show that, when we try to find the presence of an object, we are the prisoners of the moment of recognition in our perception of the picture. With these photograms of rain or dust, he leads us to a certain understanding of the mystery of vision.
Seeing is first and foremost passive. But the mind, aiming at capturing the information sent to us from reality, necessarily conceals what seems to be unimportant, that is, without danger. The artistic vision is a form of living memory of the active vision whose archetype is the (now forgotten) internal vision.
What characterizes the gesture of dispersing in Olivier Perrot’s photograms is the fact that he refers to the activity of vision by shaking the boundaries of the object and showing that its real limits are unstable. This activity is twofold: on the one hand, the point is to capture the fact that atoms carry the real away in an infinite movement of dispersion; on the other hand, it is to seize these atoms in a shape, in order to grasp them in their material consistency, the only one we can experience. Only Olivier Perrot’s photograms can show these two aspects.
Jean-Louis Poitevin, Paris 2009
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