Eric Poitevin is one of the most important figures in the world of contemporary French photography. Born in 1961 in Longuyon (France), he lives and works in Mangiennes (Meuse) and has the responsability of a workshop at the Beaux-Arts de Paris.
In 1984, on graduating from the Beaux-Arts de Metz and thanks to a scholarship from the Secretary of State Department of the Veterans, Eric Poitevin was able to produce his first major series. The following year, he started a tour of France from which were created roughly a hundred portraits of veterans in black and white. According to him, when confronted with a subject as important and serious as war, photography takes on the role of a “memory aid”.
In 1990, another iconic series of his, entitled “Religieuses” [Nuns], was realized during a residency at the Villa Medici. Those photos marked by a remarkable sobriety and a subtle use of chiaroscuro, evoke –consequence of the framing and the profile poses– portraits from the Quattrocento. A first exhibition was dedicated to this series in 1991 in Jean-François Dumont’s gallery (Bordeaux, France). Then, in 1995, he started creating coloured images of the woods around Verdun, his home area, developping an anti-spectacular approach of landscape photography.
His works revisit the major genres of classical painting (nudes, portraits, still life, landscapes, etc.) which allow him to develop a photographic process around nature and the body. Whether their subjects are faces of veterans from the First World War (1985), dead bucks (1995), skulls or butterflies (1994), woods (1995), or human or animal body parts (1999- 2001), Eric Poitevin’s photographs are always the result of a progressive process. His method of choice, shooting with a photographic chamber implying a long exposure time, allows him to build carefully the image’s composition. The light and framing, size and kind of paper chosen all contribute to shedding his subject of his outward aspects to reveal its fragility. His works were notably exhibited in the Frac Auvergne (France) in 2015, the Villa Medici, Rome, in 2011 and at the Mamco in Geneva.
He had many solo shows, in particular the one with Gilberto Zorio in 1995 at Pascale and Pietro Sparta in Chagny (France) or the exhibit Au Plateau in 2004 in Paris. More recently, he had a show at the Baronian Xippas gallery (Paris, 2018) and another one in Dilecta in 2020.In 2022, the Beaux-Arts de Lyon (France) offered him a carte blanche for a great show mixing artworks from the collection of the museum and his own new productions.
Eric Poitevin is represented in Paris by the galerie Bernard Jordan.