Eric Poitevin, Sans titre (Sous-bois), 1995 © Eric Poitevin
Nature is ever present in the photographic work of Éric Poitevin, whether photos of forests taken at the site of the First World War’s deadliest battles or animals (living and dead), trees, dried plants and even entomologists’ specimen boxes. If we were to add that, over the years, Poitevin has also photographed portraits and nudes, it becomes obvious that his approach covers a number of classical themes and that, to be precise, he is in fact revisiting the history of photography. His forthright images are anything but anecdotal; the subject, when it does not take up the entire frame, is generally placed against an immaculate white background. This neutrality situates it outside of time, transforming his subjects – dead birds hanging upside down or long slender plants that cross the image plane vertically – into powerful and graphic images. Take his angelica, which were exhibited at the Trianon in 2019: “delicate like every plant, but sturdy too, sometimes tall, robust, they are visible in the landscape well after flowering and then become almost monochrome just before definitively falling to the ground”. The force of these images lies in their rigorous composition and uniform light; apparently simple, they are imbued with solemnity.
Eric Poitevin, Sans titre (Tête de cerf), 2005 © Eric Poitevin