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When the young French photographer Jean-Vincent Simonet (Lyon, 1991) came across the book Les Chants de Maldoror (The Songs of Maldoror), he felt hugely attracted to the dark, theatrical and transgressive character. The cutting-edge book praising youth revolt, blasphemy and the victory of dream over reality was published in 1869 by Comte de Lautréamont. Jean-Vincent Simonet decided to revive the literary enigma by transforming the classic novel into a contemporary book and exhibition Maldoror.
Simonet’s photos don’t literally follow the text of The Songs of Maldoror but are related to the universe of Lautremont: romanticism, chaos, bestiality, science, intimacy and literacy.
The photographs of Simonet are based on the atmosphere it evokes. The eclectic style of the book inspired Simonet to use a diversity of photographic techniques and layouts. Simonet used iPhone pictures, 20 x 25 and large format. He works in both analogue and digital, in black-and-white and in colour. Many of the photographs are 35 mm. Simonet works with digital techniques, glitching and merging of photographs. He does not shrink from theatricality. His photos of gothic angels are provided with dramatic blue photoshopped skies full of stars. The glitching becomes visible in the thick shrubbery that is portrayed by the photographer in pictures of arid-looking overgrown landscapes without a central focus, in which dead branches merge into pink and blue shapes that look like hairs. The immersive, mysterious and overwhelming atmosphere that is created by these pictures will be tangible in the exhibition.
ABOUT JEAN-VINCENT SIMONET Jean-Vincent Simonet (b. 1991, France) graduated with high honours from ECAL in 2014 before starting his career of mixing editorial, fashion and experimental photography. His personal work was exhibited at Pla(t)form 2015 in Fotomuseum Winterthur. He also won a Swiss Design Awards in Basel this year. He lives and works in Lausanne where he juggles between commissioned photography and personal explorations. Simonet was selected as one of the Foam Talents 2015.
This project is made possible by the Van Bijleveltstichting.
Foam is sponsored by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Delta Lloyd, City of Amsterdam, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.