Jean Painlevé - Feet in the Water

Jean Painlevé - Publisher Liénart / Jeu de Paume - Hardcover - 336 pages - Text in english - Published in 2022

A filmmaker with an international reputation for his filmic experiments, Jean Painlevé (1902-1989) was a specialist in scientific documentary and film techniques.

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in this language
Model 9782359063813
Artist Jean Painlevé
Author Pia Viewing
Publisher Liénart / Jeu de Paume
Format Hardcover
Number of pages 336
Language english
Dimensions 286 x 215
Published 2022
Museum Jeu de Paume, Paris

Exhibition Catalogue Jean Painlevé - Feet in the Water, presented at the Jeu de Paume, Paris (8 june - 18 september 2022).

Associated with the avant-garde, Painlevé uses film as an exploratory tool to reveal unknown and mysterious aspects of living organisms. He accompanies the viewer with a descriptive and informative description of the subjects under study, while in most of his films the images continually alternate between full-scale observations and microscopic analyses.

ainlevé was quickly recognised and his publications in the illustrated press of the 1930s contributed to his fame. His non-conformist attitude and his affinity with the surrealist spirit are undoubtedly at the origin of the privileged link he has with independent documentary cinema. The ease with which he crossed the boundaries between science and art was rooted in his artistic associations: Jacques-André Boiffard, Alexander Calder, Ivan Goll, Fernand Léger, Éli Lotar, Pierre Naville, Pierre Prévert, Jean Vigo…

Four major aspects underline the specificity of this work: the coastline as a favourite terrain; the scientific and pedagogical approach; the relationship with the surrealist movement; and finally, the dynamics of film editing and the role of movement, rhythm and dance as characteristics and motifs.
This exhibition places Painlevé’s work in the historical and scientific context of its creation, highlighting the importance of research in his work. Still inspiring many artists today, it finds its contemporary resonance in the way the films immerse the viewer in an undefined mental space which, between familiar experiences and dreamlike drift, is still able to destabilise our sense of reality today.


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