• 39 x 61 cm. 
Original silver print by the artist.

    Pégase, 1959
    39 x 61 cm.
    Original silver print by the artist.

  • EBW 001 flat LD

    In a poem dedicated to the Etienne Bertrand Weill and written in 1963, Hans Arp describes Weill’s photographs as « an activity of light forged with the supernatural ». For Etienne Bertrand Weill the body of work entitled Métaforme represents the achievement of his photographic research:

    … we can imagine that the film wouldn’t have the time to grab the object’s contours any more. A static aspect is replaced by a new image; crystallization of an object’s movement in space and time. All that remains from shape is a new transient appearance; métaforme is the name, which seems to best define it. Its medium is photography”. (Etienne Bertrand Weill in Aujourd’hui, art et architecture, 1962) » 1

    E.B. Weill’s pioneering work holds an important place in photographic art’s history, as we are reminded through the retrospective organized by the French National Library in 2012 (Vertigo of the Body), all the previous individual or collective international exhibitions and projections of the « Music for the Eyes ». His works can be found in museum collections in France (Pompidou Center, Museum Reattu, French National Library), in USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Israel.

    EB Weill, a member of the Resistance – and a French freedom-fighter, graduated in 1938 from the National School of Photography and Cinema (Vaugirard). It was only in post-war France that he begun his artistic journey: his first period is dedicated to humanist subjects and to architecture. In 1947 he encountered Marcel Marceau through whom he entered the world of performing arts. His wide palette included theater, dance and mime. He formed close working relationships with artists such as Hans Arp, Jean-Louis Barrault, Etienne Decroux, Laurent Terzieff, Maurice Bejart, becoming for many of them their favorite and sometime exclusive collaborator.

    His attempts to suggest the energy and dynamics of the stage in one still image led him to personal research and creation: the Métaformes. In 1957, he started building mobiles, made of simple materials such as wood, glass, plexiglas, wire. He studied and conceived them specifically to generate certain families of images that he obtained by submitting these mobiles to simple or complex movements and miscellaneous lights.

    « Of course, my first film was bad but I realized that I had touched something fascinating and probably inexhaustible. »

    According to Jean-Claude Lemagny, then curator at the photographic department of the French National Library … « it’s about a preparatory elaboration of the « being photographed » – … Etienne Bertrand Weill invented « abstract » images through the fabrication of mobiles, which being animated in front of the camera results in beautiful imaginary volumes, illuminated bodies in a dark skin. » E.B. Weill knew how to push the limits of his art without trespassing them. Before him, Etienne Jules Marey, Eadward James Muybridge, Norman Mac Laren had explored the movement but Weill, through patient, quasi scientific research, provided photography with a lyrical, rich and experimental vocabulary.

    « it’s true, science came and took over from magic and, with help from this science that can be a subject of concern as well of hope for human beings, artists have to try to comprehend tomorrow’s world »

    With his audiovisual work, the « Music for the Eyes », the photographer searches further the correspondence between music and pictorial art. The constantly evolving artist participated in the development of the Gesamtkunstwerk (total art). He was ahead of his time in how he sensed that projections can become stage set and even characters themselves.

    He invented a new kind of photography, born from the confluence of sound and light, matter and movement.
    « Like music, métaformes are elaborated out of a repartition in time and space of miscellaneous vibrations or modulations. When an object is moving during a certain period of time, it generates a modulation that the camera makes perceptible to the eye. This modulation turns to an object and creates a succession of modulations, which become like elements of a visual music, through their sequence, metamorphosis, oppositions, fugues, breaks, rhythms, etc. »

    Quotations are from Etienne Bertrand Weill

    Etienne Bertrand Weill (b. 1919 – d. 2001, France)
    SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

    1954 Galerie Palmes, place Saint Sulpice, Paris (13 au 29 janvier) : Ambiance de théâtre et autres photographies
    1955 Festival de Salzbourg, 17 photos de théâtre et de mime
    Galerie d’Orsay, Paris : Le monde du théâtre, trois photographes de théâtre
    1957 Librairie « Al ferro di Caballo », Rome et Centre Français d’Études et d’Information, Milan
    1960 Expositions itinérantes en France et en Autriche organisées par une conférencière du Ministère de la Culture, V. Faugère
    1962 Maison des Beaux Arts, Paris : Métaformes, première exposition
    1964 Institut Français de Cologne
    Université de Sarrebruck, Allemagne
    1965 Ambassade de France, Tel-Aviv
    Institut Français de Haïfa
    Institut Français d’Eilat
    Maison de la Culture de Beersheba, Israël
    Collège Culturel de Merzé, près de Macon
    1966 Maison de la Culture, Le Plessis Robinson
    Sarrebrueck, Institut français
    Edinburg, festival
    1967 Cloître de la Cathédrale de Vaison la Romaine
    Musée de Louviers (14 au 28 octobre)
    1968 Exposition itinérante autour du Havre, Centre Culturel des Dombes,
    Châtillon / Chalaronne, Bourg en Bresse
    Semaine Culturelle de Bobec, Lillebonne et N.D. de Gravenchon Nouveau Centre Culturel d’Yerres
    1969 Palais de l’Europe, Menton (15 au 23 février)
    1971 Secrétariat des Clubs, Paris
    Théâtre Récamier (Compagnie Renaud-Barrault), Paris
    Section d’art photographique de Wervicq-Sud, Châtillon sous Bagneux
    1972 Musée d’Holstebro, Danemark
    Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture,
    Malakoff Festival de Collias
    1973 Galerie Knoll (octobre), Nîmes
    Librairie Lamartine, Paris
    Centre Alsthom, Paris
    1974 Maison de la Culture, Colombes
    Maison Jean Vilar, Marly le Roi
    Rencontres de la Culture du Parti Socialiste, Cité Universitaire
    1975 Inauguration du Nouveau Centre Culturel du Vésinet
    Galerie Cottache, Paris
    Centre Culturel de la ville nouvelle de Cergy-Pontoise
    Centre Rashi, Paris (13 octobre au 15 novembre)
    Paris, parti socialiste, rencontres culture
    Chälon sur saône, aspects recherche
    1976 Galerie Saint Roch (17 septembre au 4 octobre)
    Centre Rashi, Paris
    Aéroport d’Orly
    Galerie Lilienhof, Fribourg en Brisgau
    Bibliothèque Municipale de Troyes
    1977 C.A.E.S. – C.N.R.S. Meudon-Bellevue (5 au 9 décembre)
    Centre culturel de Garches
    1978 Ambassade de France New-York (18 mai au 16 juin)
    Musée Guimet, Paris
    Musée de Poitiers
    1979 Club Méditerranée, Neuilly
    1980 Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie, Besançon
    1980 Exposition dans les Universités américaines de Georgie, de Murcie, du Kansas de Pennsylvanie, de l’Etat
    de New-York, dans les Centres Culturels du Maine, de Caroline du Nord, de Californie et du Wisconsin
    1983 Le mime Étienne Decroux et son École et quelques Métaformes, Cinémathèque de Montréal et Théâtre de
    Winnipeg
    1986 Centre Rashi, Paris (18 février au 6 mars)
    1988 Centre Yaïr, Jérusalem
    1989 Théâtre de Chicago (mime et théâtre)
    1992 Alliance française, Jérusalem
    1993 Festival du Movement Theater International et Galerie Esther Klein, Philadelphie (mime)
    2001 Hommage à Étienne Bertrand Weill, Théâtre Gérard Béhar, Jérusalem
    Centre de la Danse Suzanne Dellal, Tel-Aviv
    2005 Mimos, 23ème Festival International du Mime : Exposition de 34 photographies de Decroux et de son
    École et 2 Métaformes, Centre Culturel de la Visitation, Périgueux, France
    2007 La librairie de la photo, Paris
    2008 Galerie Hautefeuille, Paris
    2012 Bibliothèque nationale de France – Site François Mitterrand – Vertige du Corps

    PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
    Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Cabinet des Estampes et de la photographie, Paris
    Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Département des arts du spectacle, Paris
    Fonds national d’art contemporain, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
    Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie, Toulouse
    Musée Nicéphore Niepce, Chalon sur Saône
    Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie, Toulon
    Musée Réattu, Arles
    Galerie Nationale de Prêt Photographique, Paris
    Collection Pierre David-Weill, Paris
    Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie, Besançon
    Hôtel de Ville, Fribourg-en-Brisgau, Allemagne
    Musée d’Art Moderne, New-York, États-Unis

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