Biography by Io Paschou
The founder of the gallery Baudoin Lebon, presents Krims.
In tandem with the exhibition Les Krims, Wishful Thinking, Satire Inspired by the Decline of the Left in America at the gallery Baudoin Lebon in Paris France.
Baudoin Lebon has decided to exhibit Les Krims in Europe after 30 years of absence. The point of departure for this exhibition was the book by the French author Robert Delpire. The pictures of Krims are whilst critical of American society, always done with humour and exceptional quality considering that these pictures were shot with standard film. In the viewfinder, these photographic collages of advertising, publicity and media shots often combine ordinary people undertaking everyday activities to form complete visual contradictions.
Along with the critic of the consumer society, but also advertising, they show photographs rich in esthetic elements and colors. Kitsch and beauty are combined perfectly in the work of Krims. The titles and sarcastic content is evocative without overwhelming the works. They offer a balance between nature, humanity and culture.
The artist himself uses the following explanation that best represents his opinion on the art of photography; It is possible to create any picture one imagines. Loyal to this approach between reality and imagination, he produced from 1969 these photographs that shock as much by their titles as their subjects, like : Jewish mother naked on her living room couch, Jezish, in Coney Island and also The Static Electric Effect of Minnie Mouse
They are a critic towards religion, but also they analyze the stereotypes of our world.
During his entire artistic career, his works were often judged as sexist, revolutionary and anarchic.
Also Les Krims on several occasions was the target of feminist photographers who accused them of being fetishist and obsessional.
According to them the photographs humiliated women. Although, Krims often included men in their pictures (he also posed naked himself), all this preserving women as the main protagonists.
Any critic should put his work into a context that is more complex as the viewer needs to look at the pictures in many different ways.
Therefore: The framing of these pictures, with their large size, their methodic construction, the contrast of lights and shade, the state of the images frozen in time, their total realism in the flatness of a publication board (suggesting the perception of the human body as product to be carved up, where everything is available to be seen, where everything is superficial and available, where man becomes the object of his own to desire to consume), distorting their appearance in the pictures towards something completely constructed*.
Do these photographs really represent a commentary on American society? Definitely, but they are a paradox, created in a fictive world, in a world of Pop Art.
With the aid of their unique style, Krims proved that nudity can be at the centre of all our taboos. For a longtime considered as the model for an artist, the female body, was used for its' sculptural qualities for both erotic and pornographic ends.
However, for Les Krims the female body can be transformed into an element to be used to create humoristic and sarcastic photographs.
On the other side, the vision of the United States almost represents a psychological portrait. The photographic works of Krims is often challenging. All the work symbolizes the situation in his home country: a country full of contrast and diversity.
Fine Art Tv had the chance to discuss with Baudoin Lebon, (one the most important Parisian gallery owners), his artistic roots and his choice to put on the Krims exhibition.
Bringing to public new work is the major passion for Baudoin Lebon, something which was a key factor in his decision to open his own gallery in 1976, in the heart of Marais region of the French capital (Paris, France). The result of all these years of the gallery is a reflection of many aspects of his own personality, these include the diversity of work on display, but also his long-term relationship with many artists the only way to discover and see the development of a particular style.
This is why the Gallery of Baudoin Labon was the first to put on show paintings by aboriginal artists from Australia, but also some of the great names of painting such as Dubuffet and Michaux, and above all the photographic retrospectives from the likes of Steichen and Kuhn and those from more recent photographers such as Mapplethorpe, Appelt and Witkin.
The love of Baudoin Lebon is for contemporary photography and this merits his place in the art market, and often drives him to choose cutting edge artisits such as the American Les Krims.
Krim in Detail
Krim was born in 1942 in Brooklyn, New York.
He was bought up in Buffalo, and studied photography at Buffalo State College. Robert Delpire exhibited Krim's photographs for the first time in France in 1974. Present in numerous public collections (The European Centre of Photography in Paris, The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, The Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Art.....).
Krim uses an Epson 4800 printer and Epson Ultra Smooth Fine Art Paper for his shots.
*The Krims, "L'expérience du simulacre" by Alain Julliard and Jérôme Henstsch published in the review of pictures, The Geneva centre of photography February 1993.