For Nantes, Philippe Ramette has decided to present a series of Éloges (“Odes”). For Place du Bouffay, Éloge du pas de côté stands proudly at its centre.
Philippe Ramette’s work – whether it is his drawing, sculpture, or photography – plays with skewed perspectives on the world. Elegantly dressed in his trademark black suit, he is known for depicting himself, often appearing upside-down in a right-side up world, and vice versa.
Defying the laws of gravity and logic without ever resorting to special effects or illusions, Philippe Ramette holds his pose “naturally,” walking horizontally on the trunk of a palm tree (Promenade irrationnelle), floating in the air (Lévitation rationnelle) contemplating the horizon upside-down while sitting on a cliff (window sill?) (Contemplation irrationnelle), studying a map while taking a stroll along the bottom of the sea (Exploration rationnelle des fonds sous-marins : la carte), and so on.
Philippe Ramette questions reality in its most tangible and physical aspects with his “irrational experiments”. Like a dandy waltzing through different time periods, he defies rationality and offers an absurd, metaphysical vision of the world. To do this, he invents and creates a whole mess of objects – especially prosthetic limbs allowing him to contradict the codes ruling our earthly lives: low/high, under/over, small/big, in front/behind... In Philippe Ramette’s world – somewhere between comedy and tragedy – everything is a tale of acquiring new perspectives and contemplative attitudes on the world and its landscapes.
For Nantes, Philippe Ramette has decided to present a series of Éloges (“Odes”). Returning to sculptural codes, his different Éloges do not pay tribute to the glory of a man, but to an attitude.
For Place du Bouffay, Éloge du pas de côté stands proudly at its centre. The bronze sculpture depicts a male character in a suit bearing a striking resemblance to the artist. Looking out at the horizon, he stands on the base with only one foot while the other dangles freely. By portraying this same character in a photo especially made for Nantes – a reference to Caspar David Friedrich’s famed romantic painting, Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog – Philippe Ramette depicts an explorer from a faraway land. It is as if this man discovered Nantes spread out before him: a metaphor for Art reaching the city after a long journey.
In this back and forth game between both works, the sculpture becomes an allegory for sidestepping and pays tribute to the city’s audacity, as well as to its commitment and close relationship to culture.
© Philippe Piron