Eve Sonneman’s La Côte d’Azur
Recent Photographs and Paintings
Nohra Haime Gallery
730 Fifth Avenue
March 14-April 28, 2012
Eve Sonneman’s photographic series “La Côte d’Azur” continues with this exhibition of seventeen diptych color digital prints on Japanese paper. Her images are the result of chance encounters that fall midway between the cinematic and touristic vision. The pairing of images shot within seconds apart subtly captures shifts in space and point of view that align the images while incorporating a sense of time and motion. There is an otherworldly quality to her work despite its immediate ties with the landscape, beaches, and beachfronts that are recognizable to anyone who has visited this privileged region. With hints of surrealist photographic layering, Sonneman’s Femmes de Chambre en Rang immediately recall photos of store window displays by Breton and Duchamp while the highly reflective vitrine glass gives these miniatures dressed for service a spectral quality breaking from their parallel display to inhabit spatial fragments that exist in the photographer’s space and beyond. Other works such as the diptychs Regatta Royale, Cannes and Pins Parasol, Ile Saint-Marguerite demonstrate a constructivist sensibility in use of angled points of view that emphasize the elegant form of a sailboat seen from water’s surface in the former, or a plein-air atmospheric softening that enables her to capture beach pines fanning across the paired arrangement. The success of these works is Sonneman’s gift for understating her subjects, thus allowing for an almost voyeuristic witnessing of narrative fragments that convey a sense of intimacy. At the same time, reversing the 19th century panoramic effect of scenic integration, the diptych format requires the viewer to shift attention between the two subtly different frames, which distance the viewer from too close contact with her subjects, not unlike the tensions and collisions of the contemporary touristic experience.