Born in Paris in 1979, Olivier Valsecchi is a French photographer, now living in Toulouse. Olivier first had an interest for musical creation, before moving to photography and self-portraits. For a few years now, he’s been focusing on the human body, and allies photography and statuary. With his use of light, a certain energy bursts out of his pictures. In 2010, his series DUST gets him noticed and wins him the Hasselblad Masters Award in 2012. Clearly inspired by the chaos theory, this series displaysa chiaroscurocoming straight out of the Renaissance. His twisted bodies are draped in a cloud of dust, giving them a surreal,nebula-like aspect, a symbol for birth and death.
In his following series called Klecksography, he pursues this body-sculpture idea, inspired by Swiss-born Hermann Rorschach’s method which consisted of using ink stains on paper in order to reveal possible dementia or schizophrenia in his patients. Olivier then decides to give full rein to what he calls “the enemy within”, the part of darkness which dwells inside all of us. In 2012, in his third series TIME OF WAR, the French photographer keeps the DUST technique, but leaves the chaos behind for a world of transmigration. Olivier Valsecchi’s work generates a constantly growing interest in photographic circles, whether it be in the press or among curators.
What is Olivier Valsecchi’s style?
I like it when a photograph doesn’t strictly look like a photograph, when it breaks away from reality, from the norm. I love the work of Ken Hermann and Jim Naughten, who treat reporting photography as Fine Art. I’ve heard my work being described this way: “It’s difficult to describe it. You need to see it,” and I like it because I never forget that photography is a visual art, so it must first speak to the eye before it speaks to the ear. I would say that I combine opposites: beauty and the bizarre, classicism and abstraction, the simple and the spectacular. My photographic style leans towards drawing, sculpture, painting, performance. I try to embrace several art forms in a single image. Personal style evolves throughout one’s career, depending on the changes at work within yourself. If it weren’t the case, we’d end-up doing the same thing over and over again, right?
What are your artistic influences (cinema, literature, art...)?
My artistic influences are not immediately noticeable in my own work. I would rather say I’ve developed some sort of familiarity with some artists I find mesmerizing and free, like David Lynch, Nina Hagen or Kafka-- artists who have created their own universeand chosen their own path. In photography per say, I would mention Jeff Bark: real work on light, precise and meticulous. To me, he enhances photography’s definition, which is to write with light.
What do you find inspiring in the body?
I don’t think of it in those terms. The body is a materialI willput into thelight in order to create a picture. Of course, it is more interestingthan plastic or clay, because it reveals intimacy and because it is the only thing the model and I have in common from the off-set: our bodies. Therefore I can project myself and identify with it. But the body is not necessarily what I am looking for, neither is its emotion. That is the role of nude photography. For my part, I look for the emotion of the picture itself. It’s a completely different work. The body must blend into my picture. It is the object, not the subject of the picture. What interests me is to confront realism with surrealism. Think of it as a creation of a parallel universe made out of elements from the real world. Flesh, muscles and nerves are the elements that bring reality to my fantasy world.
- Meet Oliver Valsecchi in Normal Magazine n°4 & n°7 -