The first time I saw one of Olivier Giachinos photos it was propped up on a friends kitchen counter. I recognised a black and white image of Tour Montparnasse, but It took me a moment to realise how this lone photo had subtly managed to trick me into thinking the city plays host to two such towers, when Paris knows there is only one.
I wanted to see more, and so I boycotted the photographer himself at his latest opening in the Marais. Despite the slightly whimsical nature of his shots, the photographer is keen to stress that he doesn’t play around with nature, he doesn’t retouch or superimpose. I want to present whats real. Perhaps thats how Giachino avoids cliché, despite the inclusion of the Eiffel Tower as part of his latest gallery opening. I just take the photos that amuse me, that I find enjoyable.
Giachino himself appears fairly nonchalant as we linger by his work, but the photos are so beautiful they cannot be without thought. He takes whats real yet makes you dream. Staring up at Giachinos large scale prints is like looking at the world through the eyes of a child, when you experienced things for the first time, before they became all cliché, postcards, keychains.
Is it Paris? I ask him. Paris is beautiful, but so are lots of places. It is true though, that maybe if you are sensitive to the beauty of Paris, the city can enliven something artistic in you. And its easy to be an artist here? It is very difficult to show and expose work here. If you don’t have the right networks, know people, its almost impossible. A city like Berlin is perhaps easier to gain exposure because there is more artistic freedom. There is a dynamism, a youthfulness that doesn’t exist yet in Paris. I mean the city can be dynamic but… it is not as open.
I have felt, if not expressed as well as Olivier Giachino, the old fashioned element to Paris before. It is partly why I am in love with the city. For in terms of artistic licence, Paris has all the beauty, all the talent. Yet it somehow fails to match the edge of a city like Berlin, which appears somewhat ahead in the coolness factor. The cities are arguably very different places, but Paris must become more open to flaunting a rawer artistic talent if it wants to compete in a way that will allow the likes of Giachino to succeed.
Starting this week, Giachino is exhibiting further work at Le Petit Moulin, 17 Rue Tholozé, Paris 18. Situated by Montmartre, this restaurant provides an escape from the crowds with great food that’s reasonably priced, a rarity in a tourist trap.