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« Vertigo »

    By Thomas Fort


A beach by a gray weather, swept by the lens of a surveillance camera. A few onlookers, like drifting figures, are walking along. Observed from afar, these passers-by become thin silhouettes blurred by the pixelated grain of the video recording. Alone, they cross a deserted seaside landscape, whose activity has been abruptly interrupted by a crisis of which we had no idea. This scene has nothing extraordinary, but, transferred by Lenny Rébéré on a LED panel with a flashy light, it catches the eye and puts in spectacle the daily life. The nature of this document, retrieved from an Internet platform allowing anyone to take an illusory breath of air, and its displacement on a support of advertising origin confirm that "all that was really lived has moved away in a representation". Guy Debord sees there, since the end of the years 1960, a tipping of the society towards a regime of experience where it is not a question any more of apprehending the real in a tangible way, but rather of consuming it by the means of media flows which reformulate it unceasingly.

These last ones weave a dense and complex mesh of images and virtual relations, by which each one becomes tourist of ephemeral and interchangeable realities. The luminous screen, introducing the exhibition, sends us back to the "chronic voyeurism" of our society under the influence of the vertiginous reign of images. Its radiance fascinates as much as it arouses discomfort, capturing our attention while trapping us in a cycle that goes round and round.

"Vertigo" instills this seductive disorder in the heart of the works or between them. Avoiding any imposed narration, the exhibition unfolds in a fragmentary and non-linear way in the two spaces of the Isabelle Gounod gallery. Each image becomes a remnant of a fragmented and silent general framework. For several years, Lenny Rébéré has built up a vast atlas in the form of a digital database on which are listed thousands of images taken daily from the Internet. While he draws some of his subjects from it, he completes his selection of personal photographs taken during his vacations. This mixture underlines the porosity between micro-narratives and collective memory in the visual writing of History. Landscapes, lascivious bodies, faces in close-up or divers appear like remanent figures, harboring a strange familiarity. Unstable indications of the "informational cloud" generated by globalization, where everything is a pretext to be processed and then archived, the artist leads each of his images to the threshold of their crystallization.

Scratching the skies on negatives of anonymous photographs taken during the first paid vacations of 1936, he subverts temporality and shifts the daytime scenes to the night. The colored filters that cover the glass plates also set the tone, giving an artificial aspect to the representations while accentuating their seductive effect. These color gradations, like a whim, pervert the images, veiling them with a twilight atmosphere, between reverie and erotic melancholy [...]

Thomas Fort, critic and independent curator, 2021.

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