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Elsa and Johanna: passing time, boredom and sublimated day by day life on the European Home of Pictures

Elsa & Johanna: two first names which might be beginning to make a reputation for themselves on the earth of images. These two French girls aged 31 and 32 share their life between Paris and the south of France, and multiply initiatives underneath the assumed aegis of an idea that has tended to grow to be a bit uncommon currently: the ” lovely “. Their virtually ten years of collaboration have resulted in a really profitable set up in a small room on the Maison Européenne de la Photograph, in Paris – however hurry, it is solely till November sixth.

Beneath the title – very “American” at coronary heart, like an entire a part of their work – of The Timeless Story of Moormerland, this eloquent challenge provides, within the type of an set up made up of 160 slides and silver prints, an ethereal journey to Germany on the finish of the twentieth century. Ladies (who appear to be indistinguishable from all different girls) get some contemporary air, daydream, take tea or take a siesta, as if suspended within the formidably anti-spectacular city landscapes that the artist duo went to seek out past -Rhine.

Purr of routine

Just a few males additionally seem, after which some youngsters right here and there (be aware that Elsa and Johanna play all these characters, even the male ones!), however it’s the ladies that we discover first, as a result of they appear to drift within the air and within the second. “What was attention-grabbing within the context of the “Moormerland challenge” was to spend money on these locations, kitsch homes for probably the most half situated within the north of the nation, between the Belgian border and the Polish border, dwellings which already had a narrative, and by which we got here to superimpose our characters with different tales created round them”tells us Johanna, met in her Parisian studio, a small condo that solely confirms the excessive style of the 2 artists for uninhibited nostalgia.

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If we’re fast to match their work to that of Cindy Sherman, it’s way more for this method which consists of placing oneself on stage than for the ultimate graphic rendering, all in all fairly removed from the exuberant poses which made the success and sulphurous repute of the American photographer. The passage of time, boredom, the sublimation of a day by day lifetime of a banality that nothing involves shake up: right here is the frequent thread of this photographic work finally extra impressed by that of William Eggleston, additionally American, born in 1939. After which, with Elsa & Johanna, there’s additionally this acute sense of element that they insert with finesse between their embodied scenes. Other than them, who would take note of a leftover mashed banana on a small porcelain plate? To pairs of ballerina flats and girls’s moccasins caught close-up? To a tricycle deserted in entrance of a suburban residential pavilion?

By way of these apparently banal pictures, we’re launched into a time loop which is, mainly, the one which governs the lifetime of Mr. and Mrs. Everybody. An aperitif with girlfriends, between native girls, a “sororous” embrace on the deck of a small pier, a gymnast pleased with her efficiency in competitors, a pair “zoning out” within the neighborhood, two girls having fun with their share a bit mounted in a backyard… Johanna explains: “We invite guests to query their very own day by day relationship. The characters we embody are a bit stereotyped, however that is as a result of they’re caught in their very own characters, on this responsibility of look that all of us have in direction of others. It’s a query right here of boredom, of weariness linked to this incarnation. However let’s not child ourselves: some persons are completely completely happy within the reassuring hum of routine the place there’s finally little room for sidestepping. »

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Elsa, Johanna and her mum (all the time prepared to assist) are a small enterprise that doesn’t know the disaster, and the place group is the important thing to the whole lot: a automobile to seek out, equipment to arrange – together with the important wigs to offer life to the characters – lengthy hours of interested by the locations that can make it doable to compose the ambiance. Then, it will likely be essential to lease the homes, to arrange them for the classes. On arrival, it’s as a lot spontaneity as relentlessness that can deliver forth, earlier than our eyes, a end result as curious as it’s bewitching. What’s subsequent? On the initiative of the publishing home The Eyes, the duo is engaged on a photograph cowl of a e book dated 1893, what a girl is value by Eline Roch. A treatise, an training guide, supposed to take care of the younger lady and the long run spouse in her most “noble” (sic) posture, that of the housewife, educated, groomed and obedient. A sum of injunctions from one other time which clearly resonates otherwise at the moment, however on which the 2 artists had been ready, right here once more, to take a crucial and deliciously caustic look.


Elsa & Johanna – The Timeless story of Moormerland till November 6 on the Maison Européenne de la Photograph, Paris.
And in addition: Elsa & Johanna, What a Lady Is Value: The Twelve Hours of Day and Evening, The Eyes Publishing. To be printed in November.
The sequence “The twelve hours of day and evening” (from the e book) is exhibited from November 3 till November 19 on the Maison Auguste Comte (Paris sixth arrondissement) as a part of PhotoSaintGermain.

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