Edouard VII – Paris 9

Stéphane Couturier

Date : 1997

Medium : Photography

Size : 180 x 135 cm

Without endorsing or deploring the urban environment we live in, Couturier's images are designed to challenge our perception. By questioning the presence of objects, their use and destiny, the artist invites us to take a fresh look at the order of things: the proliferation of signs, confrontation of plans, breaking down of the hierarchy of subjects and transforming the heterogeneity.

Stéphane Couturier conceives the urban fabric as work in progress – ever changing and inexorably problematic. In this way, he turns one of the basic functions of photography upside down – capturing the transitory and temporary in a stable and secure image.

The guide

Does this look familiar?
It is in fact a photo of the Société Générale building in the Edouard VII district of Paris.
When Stéphane Couturier heard about the renovation program, he became interested and wanted to explore the site.
This is not a commissioned work, but an independent piece by the artist. This is why we are so pleased to include it in the company's collection today.

Let’s take a look at the picture.
The first thing you notice is the entangled web of lines that create an abstract pattern.
At least three patterns can be seen. Perhaps you can make out even more.
The picture is organised around these patterns, and the viewer is witness to a theatrical scene.

Looking more closely, can you work out which of the elements reinforces this impression?
It is, quite simply, the horizontal wooden bar in the foreground that runs across the bottom of picture. It is as if we are up in the balcony watching the performance taking place down below.

Stéphane Couturier deceives the viewer's reality.
But where exactly are we? In front of, or behind the stage?
The viewer is lost in a maze of scaffolding and ladders regulated by the colours that run horizontally across the picture.

Couturier is trying to confuse the viewer, making us lose our sense of logic. And all without any alteration to the photo.