The Grand Palais [I]
Stéphane Couturier (born in Paris in 1957) has been committed to documenting the anatomy of the city since the late 1980s.
In order to achieve this, the photographer takes pictures of open sections during building works to capture changes in the urban landscape. In his work, indeterminacy underlies the gloss of the ordinary and documentary objectivity. Although the subject is firmly rooted in reality, it tends to merge with its representation. The focus is not so much architecture or town planning as the process of perceiving works of art, combined with an inquiry into the photographic medium itself.
Taken at a time of day when the light is as neutral as possible, the photographs contained in the portfolio are extremely sharp and remarkably free of shadows. Frontal views are de rigueur; the structure of the image simultaneously draws the eye and disconcerts.
Here, architecture is considered to be a living organism, evolving with the sedimentary layers of history. Onto the steel structure worn by the rigours of time is superimposed a second metallic structure, a sort of prosthesis supporting a sick body. Aside from the documentary element inherent in the work of Stéphane Couturier, this collection also aims to make the Grand Palais a symbol of the stages of the architectural development of Paris, a stimulus for thought at the interface of photography, architecture and the plastic arts.