Galerie La Forest Divonne – Brussels presents « Abstraction of concrete », a singular dialogue between, Lucien Hervé (1910-2007) and Illés Sarkantyu (born 1977).

A dialogue between two bodies of work, it is portrait that is at stake in the two separate series we’re showing, by Lucien Hervé and Illès Sarkantyu. Both born in Hungary some 60 years appart. Hervé draws an intimate self-portrait through the shooting of his own flat (he who spent his life shooting monumental public architectures around the world), while Illés Sarkantyu gives an indirect portrait of his late fellow artist, through the systematic shooting of the archives he left. Or to say it in other words, through the trace of his work. In doing so, Sarkantyu, develops his own radical perspective, often nourished with appropriation and reinterpretation.

The main wall of the Gallery will be covered with all 16 images of the series « L’Appartement », shot by Lucien Hervé as a self-portrait. They will be hanged up in the original disposition conceived by Lucien Hervé himself at Galerie du Jour, Agnès b. in 2000. These rare photographies, seldom shown are a concentrate of the master’s art, in an intimate territory, where one finds all the specificities of his eye, especially his rigorous compositions. These images are shown right now by the Musée du Jeu de Paume, in the monographic show « Lucien Hervé : géométrie de la Lumière ».

As Quentin Bajac, Head of Photography at the MOMA puts it : « La singularité d’Hervé, elle tiendrait à sa grande rigueur, à son économie de moyen et à la façon, tout à fait originale, dont il se tient sur la limite entre abstraction et figuration ; celle avec laquelle il cherche, par-delà une apparence extérieure des choses, à rendre compte d’une idée, d’un dessein et à faire que chaque expérience de la vision soit saisie dans une réflexion plus générale. »

Facing these historical pieces, Illés Sakantyu will display the « Archives » series (2010), a kind of post- mortem portait of Lucien Hervé, as well as an hommage, through the petty, day-to-day trace of his work : objective, Becher-like, photographies of the files in which Hervé would keep negatives, planche contact, and images. Through these radical images, Sarkantyu draws his own vision and his own artistic practice. It is the first time this series of images are confronted to those of the appartement : the very place where the archives were kept, and where the pictures were shot. Colors will echo each other in these works both heading toward abstraction while photographing most concrete and daily subjects. Quoting Paul Klee, these pictures don’t copy the visible, they make the viewable (conspicuous?).

Leading architectural photographer, known for his collaboration with Le Corbusier, Niemeyer, Prouvé, among others. Known for his commitment to social and humanist issues, Hervé sought a living presence even in his most geometric compositions. His work has been shown in major museums around the world, and is part of the Collections of the Centre Pompidou, MOMA, Getty Center, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and many other prestigious private and public collections.

Hungarian by birth and French by choice as Lucien Hervé, Illés Sarkantyu met him in 2003 working on a series of portraits of Hungarian intellectuals and artists. Soon after Hervé’s death, he was called by Judith Hervé to participate one the conservation and promotion of her late husband’s œuvre. That’s when Sarkantyu started photographing, classifying and scanning Hervés folders and proof sheets, triggering a very singular work taking a documentary look to higher artistic purposes and creations. The files series being at the same time an hommage to Hervé and a personal creation. Most of his work since then has been driven by these concepts of appropriation and recreation, memory and paraphrase.

His work is represented by several galleries in France and Hungary. It has been shown in public institutions since 1998, and most recently, at the Petit Palais (Musée des Beaux Arts de la Ville de Paris), which exhibited his work on Lucien Hervé’s files, in 2016.