The Xippas Gallery is very pleased to present an exhibition of the French photographer Philippe Ramette. Most well known for his staged photographs of physically improbable situations, Philippe Ramette simultaneously clarifies and complicates ways of how we see and view the world. For his first solo show at the Xippas Gallery in Geneva, the artist reveals his most recent photographs, a set of drawings and a sculpture.
Shortly after studying art in Nice, Philippe Ramette gave up painting in order to devote himself to the sculpture of “hybrid” objects; strange installations that combined ingenious makeshift constructions with delicately-fashioned objects. Already present were the humor, repellant quality, fear, irony, touches of derisiveness as well as a real interest in raising the stakes of art that continue to traverse Ramette’s work today. Although Philippe Ramette considers himself primarily a sculptor, photography – which the artist practiced mostly for himself at the outset – has now become the point of departure for all sorts of experiments and daring flights of fancy.
Philippe Ramette presents the resulting photographic series at Xippas gallery, Geneva. In a similar vein as his “sculpture-prostheses,” these surrealistic experimentations capture the artist on the other side of the lens as he takes on improbable and illogical poses. The acrobatic performances the artist stages are carried out without the use of stand-ins or digital retouches; between the sky and the earth, on the edge of the void, these acts playfully fool the eye while also functioning as an enigma for the viewer to tease out.
The exhibition will also present a sculpture, l’éloge de la discrétion (in praise of discretion), which also deals with the question of the incorporation of the artist’s physical presence in the work. Scanned and reproduced in resin, the figure that stands in the gallery space was cast from a model of the artist’s body and so has also called upon the presence of his physical form. Having shown a certain boldness with his photographic demonstrations, the artist takes on a more subtle tone by camouflaging himself to blend in with the gallery space. The sculpture echoes with the disconcerting nature of the rest of the exhibition, accompanying the spectator on a meandering discovery of the artist, revelatory as always.
To experience an exhibition by Philippe Ramette is to enter a field of questions regarding what is tangible, or what can constitute the physically plausible. Philippe Ramette astutely shows us that “… nobody can know if the world is fantasy or reality, or if there exists a difference between dreaming and living …” (Jorge Luis Borges)
Philippe Ramette was born in 1961. He lives and works in Paris. He has been the subject of several personal exhibitions including the Domaine Départemental de Chamarande in 2007, the Mamco in Geneva in 2008, as well as at the CRAC Sète in 2011 and the Galerie Xippas in Paris in 2012. In 2011 he was also included in Paris/Delhi/Bombay at the Centre Georges Pompidou, and French Art Today: Marcel Duchamp Prize, at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea. In 2012 his photographic work was the subject of a travelling exhibition originating at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok, then Jakarta (National Gallery); and simultaneously the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales in Montevideo, Uruguay has presented his first personal exhibition in South America.