SEE: PHILIPPE RAMETTE

While everyone and their oncle was taking advantage of the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine, I took advantage of their absence at the Jeu de Paume. Like most museums, Sunday afternoons usually spell one-hour lines and shoulder-to-shoulder galleries as all the self-respecting Parisians tick off their culture box at the latest incontournable expo. Luckily these Parisians we’re lining up elsewhere for once, which meant no lines and empty rooms at the Jeu de Paume.

Originally I was hoping to write about the expos I saw – Laurent Grasso and Eva Besnyo – but I felt both of them fell flat. Grasso’s was too conceptual for my liking, and Besnyo….well it was fine, but not a must-see in my opinion. But just when I was on my way out I decided to make a pit stop at the postcards and was immediately drawn to the ones by Philippe Ramette. This is some conceptual work I can get behind.

Like some kind of real-life Magritte gentleman, Ramette creates gravity-defying, surrealist photography that is surprisingly more sincere than it looks. What appears like a trick of Photoshop is actually the real deal. Look closer and you’ll see a reddened face, tensed hands, and a suit that’s ruffling in the wrong direction.

Not surprisingly, Ramette goes through painstaking efforts to create these Magritte-like pieces. What look like serene and fairly simple scenes require a whole lot more that what’s visible. From metal rings that tether his ankles to the Grimaldi Forum building in Monaco, to an underwater tank that keep his balcony afloat, nothing is at is seems. Even his hair is gelled down to avoid any stray strands that would destroy the illusion.

But his effort isn’t in vain. Albeit weightless, bizarre, neo-romantic, and magnificent, Ramette’s photographs are foremost tranquil oases of man in nature.

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