The Museum of Cycladic Art and the French Institute of Athens,in part of Mediterranee a la carte, are organising three exhibitions to be held concurrently.
Jean-Luc Moulène | Le Louvre
Photographs often go no further than a simple depiction of the image on a surface. However, when the subject and the viewpoint of the depiction are selected on the basis of aesthetic criteria, the photograph may, though not a work of art in itself, be incorporated into a work of art and intensify the emotion called forth by it. This is the case with Jean-Luc Moulène. Out of the numerous exhibits in the Louvre Museum, he was able to select artefacts from different cultural collections and photograph them outside the showcases, using his own aesthetic approach and revealing hidden associations linking items that are at first site disparate. His camera dwelt on twenty-four small-scale sculptures of divine, daemonic and human figures from the ancient world, made of different materials and in different techniques, that are unified by the allure of the abstraction of the inessential, by their laconic harmony of movement, and above all by their frontality. The light breathes life into the eyes of the figures, while their gaze, transcending place and time, makes them coexist with each other from one end of the Mediterranean, their place of origin, to the other. Moulène’s photographs capture the sharpness and intensity that emphasise the aesthetic perfection and dialectic power of the objects. At the same time, they direct the spectator’s gaze to time as history, as they give birth to thoughts and concerns associated with beliefs and ways of thinking. The artist thus impels us to wander in places and times separated by thousands of years, to discover unseen similarities through the difference of the objects, to realise that a tiny artefact can be just as great as a monumental work of art. He makes us feel that what defines man as a creator and a partaker of art is not the age in which he lives, but something more profound, something internal and certainly timeless. Perhaps, indeed, his personal, selective mythology is intended to serve as a way into the labyrinth of human nature, in an analytical (and therefore synthetic), metaphorical and historical manner. To challenge visitors and those who read the insert ‘catalogue’ in To Vima to approach the timelessness of the world and his art through perspectives and intellectual regressions. Moulène’s approach ultimately makes us ask ourselves whether museums ought to add sections in which the camera would assist visitors not only to see, but also to observe and meditate.
Aris Georgiou, Montpellier: five minutes’ pause
Out of a secret wish, and clearly to avoid a path that had been laid out for him by his parents, Aris decided in 1917 to leave his birthplace, Thessaloniki, and study in France: in the south of France, so that he could retain his Mediterranean ties with his homeland. On his journey, he travelled by a form of transport appropriate to his financial status: the train. The train of a not-too-distant age, when white steam and black smoke imprinted on his experiences shades of the images that paraded before him on his journey, during which the Spartan comfort of his economy carriage improved as he crossed different countries: Yugoslavia, Italy. So, all his senses on the alert as a result of his thirst for discovery (Greece was under the colonels’ regime), Aris approached the coast of France, not by way of a harbour quay, but via the Montpellier station; where a reception committee of Mediterranean rain was waiting to welcome him, as though cleansing him of the traces of his journey and preparing him, through this baptism, to become one of us… It was not Aris’s intention to become involved with images. His contact with Montpellier kindled in him an unquenchable desire to discover the space of the city, to write his story in his new life, to make his presence felt. He could have started a diary and set out his impressions and discoveries in writing . . . but his direction as a student of architecture turned him to one of the most important means of expression: the image. It was through taking his first photographs that he recorded his journey and established his view, a view of his new experiences. Today, as we look at this group of photographs, we realise his interest in his relation with space, volumes, the context of life, urban and human elements – an interest that is accompanied by his dedication to the details that reveal the city. His personal history with the city of Montpellier has today become a reference point. Through his visual expression, he creates and provides a diary and at the same time a piece of the history of Montpellier, grounded in the silver minerals of the photograph.
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