Work is love made visible.
Dear friends from all over the world!
“Work is love made visible.” I find this quote from Khalil Gibran absolutely magnificent. I strive to apply it to my own life, and when I meet people who embody it, it’s each time a new revelation for me. The artist Gilles Lorin, “photographer, alchemist and engraver”, is precisely one of those person who embody it. Report on a soulful encounter at the 8th edition of the Fotofever art fair in Paris.
Paris’s cultural agenda is punctuated throughout the year with major exhibitions and events. For example, September celebrates European heritage (“Journée du Patrimoine”), Design (Paris design week) and Fashion (including the Fashion Week). October is notably the month of Contemporary art (with its culmination, the FIAC). November is the month of Photography.
I do not have an extended culture in art but it’s always fascinated me. I was able to devote myself to artists in a professional capacity during a rich two-year long collaboration with the contemporary art gallery Emmanuelle Rousse, then by supporting creatives with their communication. Meeting and exchanging with artists always makes me extremely happy. Their unfailing commitment to their art as a mode of expression, their constant search for meaning through their creations, their connection to their intuition, are for me subjects of eternal wonder!
My dear friend Corinne Rozotte, who is a great photographer doing reportages all around the globe, invited me last fall to the Fotofever fair, at the Caroussel du Louvre in Paris. Fotofever brings together more than 100 galleries and 200 “emerging” artists from 20 countries. It is extremely interesting and I really recommend you go if you happen to be in Paris during this fair.
Beauty and emotions
During an exciting guided tour, we stopped at the stand of Gilles Lorin and I felt really touched by the beauty of his work. First, the photo “Resilience” (below) caught my attention by its intensity, the extra soul that emanated from the hypnotic portrait. It was like I was in the actual presence of the person featured in the photography.
Resilience, Gilles Lorin, 2012
I thought that the author of these photos had an incredible talent, in the like of a photographer whom I admire very much, Sally Mann (last year there was a beautiful retrospective of her work at the ‘Jeu de Paume’ art center in Paris).
Gilles Lorin’s landscape photos were also sublime, imbued with serenity and mystery. They underline the immensity and the sacredness of nature, thus suggesting the relative insignificance of the human being in the face of such a power. I felt the direct inspiration from traditional Chinese and Japanese iconography (where people are mere details lost in immense landscapes), and from Far Eastern spirituality such as Taoism or Shintoism.
Balance, Gilles Lorin, 2018
The explanations we got from our guide and the artist himself highlighted another fascinating aspect of his approach. Beyond his obvious talent as a photographer, Gilles Lorin has developed over years a passion for all stages of the graphic chain (shooting, development and printing). He notably seeks meaning and depth through ancient photographic processes. After years of research and practice, he has acquired an incredible mastery of platinum and palladium prints (see his “Memento Mori” project, for example), and cyanotypes, revealing a whole range of shades of Prussian blues (in the like of his “Dao” project).
Portrait d’Arbre, Prussian blue study no. 1, Gilles Lorin, 2018
Slow is beautiful
In the age of instant digital photos, when everyone can take beautiful photos with their smartphone, some professionals are going against the trend by studying the techniques of former times which required a great mastery of chemical processes and equipment, therefore a lot of practice, therefore a lot of time! Gilles Lorin infuses his work with time, while making his work timeless.
To slow down the pace of our life gives us time to connect to our intuition. Time also allows us to progress through daily practice and endless repetition of gestures -the best way to reach excellence. (Allow me a short parenthesis here, to link this with the Japanese culture that I love so much: the country recognizes certain people or groups of people, masters in their art, as “Living National Treasures”, conferring on them, during their lifetime, the wonderful role of custodians of intangible cultural property. How wonderful is that?)
Aesthetics, history and the sacred
Very interested in what I had just learned during the guided tour, I approached Gilles Lorin. He was welcoming and warm, attentive to questions, to which he answered by taking his time -despite the crowd on the stand – with sincerity and authenticity.
He explained to me in more details the importance for him of the quality and history of the supports and materials. For example, he prints his photos on ancestral handcrafted paper (like Gampi paper, one of the most expensive and exclusive Japanese Washi papers). He also enhances certain prints with gold leaf (for example his magnificent “Divin” series), echoing the Japanese screens of the Kano era, or the use of gold to represent the sacred in many ancient civilizations (it reminded me of my wonderful trip to the Sacred Valley in Peru, discovering the civilization of the Incas and its Temples of the Sun -whose entire walls were once covered with gold).
Le plafond du ciel (Heaven’s ceiling), 2008, Gilles Lorin
To explain his work “Heaven’s ceiling” (above), Gilles Lorin didn’t hesitate to pick up the framed artwork from the wall and rotate it under the hall light. This gesture reflected and revealed numerous details of the photography, and the depth of patterns. Seeing that, I couldn’t help but think of the gilding of Japanese lacquers gently reflecting candles light in traditional houses -an aesthetic beautifully narrated by Junichiro Tanizaki in his “In Praise of Shadow“.
Resilience and transformation
In our conversation, Gilles Lorin also mentioned setbacks (including a serious accident and a long illness) which forced him to reflect on how fragile life can be, and to seek inside of him a deeper meaning for his own existence.
These painful experiences pushed him to devote himself to his passion, photography. Today he captures the essence of his subjects, the divine in the world around us, and the impermanence of everything. To me, his work undeniably stems from Love. This is why he embodies so well, in my eyes, this beautiful quote from the Lebanese poet and philosopher Khalil Gibran, “Work is love made visible.”
Finally, I also noticed a mutual admiration and friendship between the gallery owner, Jörg Maass, and his artist Gilles Lorin. The best way to collaborate, really! I also felt a lot of generosity and kindness in both men. Jorg Mass welcomed me on his stand with a great sense of humor, offering me a magnificent catalog of Gilles Lorin, just because, he said, my handbag was “very original and pretty” 😉 Then Gilles Morin transported me into his magnificent world. I thank them both for this wonderful journey.
If you are in Berlin, meet the gallery owner Jorg Mass and enjoy the work of Gilles Morin!
Kunsthandel Jörg Maaß
Rankestraße 24, 1st floor
T +49 (0)30 211 54 61
Gilles Lorin’s personal story of transformation, the influence of Asian art on his creation, his deep spiritual roots, his quest for excellence and the preservation of admirable craft techniques, his poetry, his connection to nature, everything in his approach resonates with my own journey or my own sensitivity. His work created in my heart a spark of grace.
And you, dear readers, have you recently made beautiful artistic discoveries? Share your favorite ones in the comments below, and tell me how they have resonated with your own life. I will be thrilled to read you!
If you feel like diving into the rich cultural offer of Paris, and immerse yourself into the city’s beauty and singularity, I’d be happy to support you with my programs. Don’t hesitate to contact me.
With love and gratitude,
PS: another point I’d like to make with this blogpost is to encourage you to get aware on how much love you share with the world through your own work. If that consideration makes you feel uneasy, it might be time for you to shift your perception about your job (and you don’t need to be a pediatrician, a great cook or a massage therapist to improve people’s life! ANY job is a venue for spreading love – this morning a young lady from the electricity company came home to read my meter: she was so kind and joyful that in 30 seconds, she just made my day!) You might even feel you need to reconsider your professional choices. For either situation, I can support you as well, as I have my own practice as a Holistic Life Coach. Do not hesitate to contact me to find out more, I offer a 30-minute free discovery session. I also work via phone or video calls, so the distance is no issue at all, and you can exchange with me from the comfort of your home 🙂