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Erwan Frotin at TH13

Flora Olbiensis

Floral photography: an exercise in style born in the 19th-century and revisited since by a host of photographers, including Erwan Frotin. His Flora Olbiensis series, shown in Bern, testifies to the rebirth of a genre handed down from Steichen, Blossfeldt and Mapplethorpe.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Erwan Frotin at TH13
© Stefan Marthaler

Erwan Frotin graduated from Lausanne's École Cantonale d’Art in 2002. This exhibition is a survey of wild flowers from the Hyères region, on the Côte d'Azur. By photographing the plants' inflorescence, or flowering system, Erwan Frotin has created images worthy of a herbarium – the botanist's essential collection of dried specimens. With the advent of digital photography, Erwan Frotin plays with his palette of colours, abandoning the scientific approach and guided solely by aesthetic concerns. Here, the background – traditionally neutral in scientific or still-life photography – becomes almost dazzling. The rendering of colour is comparable to that of images on a computer screen. Dull and bright colours cancel one another out… Move back from the canvas and it fills with light; move closer, and increasingly, the eye loses itself in botanical detail.

Exhibitions at TH13 are devoted in part to the work of young Swiss photographers: the Foundation chose to showcase Erwan Frotin's images, saluting his artistic approach and his desire to share his fascination with the natural world.

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