Capturing the hidden messages behind the walls

2021-03-18 12:04:18

An image of a wall by Eric Pillot. [Photo provided to China Daily] Seemingly empty walls have been turned into art works filled with intrigue by French photographer Eric Pillot, who is holding an exhibition at Galerie Dumonteil in Shanghai from Mar 6 to Apr 27. The exhibition features 14 images of walls, each of which contains seemingly innocuous cracks, stains and spots that have stirred the intrigue of audiences "just as they stirred the photographer's emotions and curiosity," wrote Michel Pastoureau, a professor of medieval history and western symbology. Just like in his previous "In Situ" and "Horizons" series, the use of delicate printing techniques has allowed Pillot's images to be "sometimes bright and crisp, sometimes pale and ethereal", said Zheng Yuxin, a representative of the gallery in Shanghai. "He manipulates these wall elements like paint, presenting landscapes that stray from the border between figuration and abstraction, leaving the viewer lost between realism and abstraction, painting and photography." An image of a wall by Eric Pillot. [Photo provided to China Daily] The outbreak of the pandemic and resulting need for social distancing and enforced confinement has forced people to build psychological "walls", but Pillot's walls depict other possibilities, such as opening a window to the imagination and inviting audiences to step into a dream world away from their reality, added Zheng. Pillot was formerly a shipbuilding engineer and employee of the French National Defense Department before he decided to study mathematics in order to pass an exam to become a teacher. He did so simply because he craved the time and freedom to create. As a student, he loved music and learned to play jazz. It was his music teacher who discovered the artistic streak in Pillot. "I think my interest in colors has something to do with the music I studied," he said in a written interview with the media in Shanghai. "We use some similar words for music and colors: compositions, harmony, tonality." Pillot's first showcase in 2004 featured his photographs of polar bears swimming and playing underwater in a zoo. Founded by Pierre Dumonteil and his wife Dothi in 1982, Galerie Dumonteil opened its Shanghai space in 2008 "to strengthen the collaboration and professional ties within the art scene in Asia," according to Dumonteil. IF YOU GO Eric Pillot: Parois 11 am- 7 pm, Tues-Sat, Mar 6 – Apr 27, Galerie Dumonteil, Building 105, 199 Hengshan Road, Shanghai 021-6418-6367