12 April - 2 June 2019
Born in 1940. Lives and works in Paris. Following his studies in 1963, at the School of Fine Arts in Angers, Jean Larivière began a research work on movement, space and time that led him after ten years to the realization of kinematic images «Never Always». Consisting of sequences of photograms and photographs reworked at the line, superimposed infinitely by a subtle set of layers and filmed with colour cinemascope, the film with surreal accents impresses Matta and reveals the formal vocabulary that he will develop later in his photographs.

After many encounters, the most notable of which remain those of Chris Marker, Salvador Dali, Roger Vadim or Barney Wilen, he turns to advertising photography imposing his technique, his formal and iconographic register.

In 1978, Maison Louis Vuitton invited him to create a catalogue whose photographs led him from Guadeloupe to Rajasthan via New York and Montreal. Those photographs mark the beginning of a long collaboration with the brand beyond the advertising commission.

“A little because of his fetish elephant – stuffed – and a lot because of his photographs, I have a hard time imagining Jean Larivière other than as a big child and a magician.

As a child, I am convinced that he wanted to remain so, thus preserving visions and an imaginary that his condition – official – of «applied photographer» could very often have called into question to make him fit into the mold of the claim, was it luxury or stylish.

Magician, he became so, by perfecting «tricks», know-how, the least important of which is not his knowledge of the light and the fineness of treatment that he dedicates to it. I am, each time, captivated, in the etymological sense of the term, by his lights, his ability to pass from the vibrations of gray to contrasts, from the contradictions to the degraded, even to make them coexist on the same image, to the smallest detail of the final prints.

From fashionable portrait, from staging to landscape, from travel chronicle to still nature, he mocks genres, transcends them to assenate us, with his obvious sweetness, images that could not have existed as they are if it were not for photography.

The Larivière, who for twenty years proposed a dream imagery for Louis Vuitton, is also an artist who dialogued with abstraction, who posed himself in a very serious way – among other things around the portrait- the question of figuration, who explored the possibilities of storytelling, who one day decided, in a very serious way, to be part of a history of photographic classicism by remaining attentive to movements, research, plastics and graphics of his time.”

Selected works

Exhibition views