Simone Simon

 

A photographer by trade, Simone Simon has been developing for fifteen years an artistic practice combining photography, videos, sound recordings and written testimonials. Each of her projects is built in a pragmatic way, to render a raw, often poetic reality. Anchored in a social approach, she seeks in the subjects she captures a living testimony, where absence and time weigh sometimes as a threat, sometimes as a hope.

 

Thus, time seems to have stopped when she photographs industrial districts and disused infrastructures in several European cities, giving light the leading role (Smile, we are being destroyed, Thus goes the light). With Les portes du St Pierre (ed. Le Passager Clandestin), she goes to meet women in a suburb of Nice as their unhealthy building, already half abandoned, is about to be destroyed.

 

Invoking the buried memories of childhood, cradle of the first emotions, she gathers audio testimonies, on the edge of a dream (Ne regardez pas le renard passer). With Nostalgie du présent, a nod to the world of Paul Auster, she brings children’s and adults’ faces face to face: “Everything is already inscribed in a child’s face “*, she observes, and the double portraits she offers bring out in a disturbing way the astonishing resemblance of a face that time cannot denature.

 

Simone Simon often relies on the participation of anonymous people (On the passage of a few people through…) and whatever the problem posed, the images, stories and testimonies speak a language common to all. The artist highlights mental images, convictions, regrets or dreams, taking the time to listen, with the strong will not to stage anything, but simply to grasp a subjective reality in which each person can find a little bit of himself and his relationship with others. This is also her approach when she directed with Eric Antolinos the film, Boxing-club, shot in a boxing club in the suburbs of Nice. There, she gives free speech and lingers on the sporting gestures and attitudes that create the link between these inhabitants of all generations and communities.

In her current work of photographs and testimonies, Le vent se lève, she gathers about thirty testimonies of women in the often shocked relationship they have with their bodies. Posing naked in a setting that is intimate to them, these anonymous women affirm their desire for freedom: they speak out against cultural diktats and aesthetic codes, which are often alienating.

Without ever getting into pathos, nor claiming any militancy, she nevertheless evokes how people’s lives are affected by political decisions of all kinds. Benevolence and slowness make up this very particular poetry, where time seems suspended.

 

* Paul Auster in, L’invention de la solitude, ed. Actes Sud, 1993

 


 

SIMONE… SIMON…

At the beginning of this afternoon, which announces a Côte that we love so much and that we finally find again, after these few months of barbarism, this Côte so nicely named by Stephen Liégeard, of azure, I look at this face -that of Simone Simon- as we are both sitting, side by side, on the orange skaï couch of my office. To tell the truth, it is she who turns to me and looks at me. Her narrow shoulders, her whole bust, her legs against each other with her hands resting delicately on them, her whole body sets itself as a “goal” to look at me and not only at me. She sees me. Does she know that inside, I am enjoying this name that perspires with ambiguity? I wonder doubly. Who is this woman?

We made an appointment for me to write a text about her, about her work.

 

Like everyone else, I meet her regularly at openings. We greet each other and talk about the works on display, the artists, everything, nothing. Finally, I realize that she is a stranger to me.

She came with a plastic bag containing a book. And, as if it were useless, shows me the contents quickly, turning the pages with a certain embarrassment, almost in a hurry to get rid of this formality that also embarrasses me. I hate these moments. Very quickly his smile takes over. She talks to me… about others.

 

What do I know about her best? These are some photographs seen at Eva Vautier’s gallery. Rigorous photographs which, at the time, seemed to me distant, almost cold, photographs of architecture taken in Eastern countries, I think. Small format photographs at modest prices that convinced me, without really knowing why. She talks to me about this work. I am absent, I hardly listen to her, I look at her and, in my turn, I see her.

 

I understand now. What I had identified as a somewhat cold distance, is only honesty, sincerity, modesty and… forbidden.

 

She forbids herself any form of corruption, she who worked for a while for the fashion press. She refrains from any self-centered ambition, she who today dares not call herself an artist. She refrains from any form of grandiloquence, she who devotes herself to the sole pleasure of photography. She refrains from talking about herself, she who never ceases to be interested in others.

 

This honesty, this sincerity, this modesty are truly the material with which she works, in addition, of course, to her camera.

 

If I had to cite only one work, or rather one project, since this is how she considers her way of working, it would certainly be the one realized in Nice in 2007/2008 Les Portes Du Saint-Pierre. A project, encounters, testimonials, words of women about their city where she has, with an astonishing acuity and a remarkable accuracy, not only testified to the daily life of the women of this suburb but really made work. As always, this project has been the subject of a publication, with deceptive modesty.

 

As in Boxing Club, a short film made earlier in 2006, or in the project Ne regardez pas le renard passer, the one that occupies her today and which she presents to me with thoughtful enthusiasm. It is the human being that is at the heart of her preoccupations, sometimes to the point of absence, as in these photographs found in Eva Vautier’s work.

At the end of our interview and as the light slowly fades, I walk back to the gate this small silhouette, so luminous in this late afternoon. How time can pass quickly. I forgot about Simon… and dare not tell him that I find her magnificent, that her work touches me and that I would have so much pleasure in writing a few words about Simone.

 

Yves Peltier

 

Lives in Nice

 


 

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

 

2019

CORPS / VOIX Territoires de l’intime
Curratrice Chiara Palermo
Vernissage vendredi 27 septembre 2019 à partir de 18h
Avec Présentation et signature du livre NU, Simone Simon, préface de David Le Breton, texte de Chiara Palermo
Galerie Eva Vautier, Nice

 

 

2016

Ne regardez pas le renard passer
Installation sonore
Supervues, petite surface de l’art contemporain
35 chambres, 35 artistes
Hôtel Burrhus, Vaison-la-Romaine

 

 

2015 

Paroles
Diaporama de 7 minutes
En collaboration avec les femmes et les enfants résidants du CHRS, Les Yuccas

 

 

2014

Ainsi Va La Lumière

Artiste invité : Joseph Dadoune

Galerie Eva Vautier, Nice

 

 

2011

Souriez, On Se Détruit, Maison Abandonnée

La Villa Caméline, Nice

 

 

2009

Les Portes Du Saint Pierre

Hôtel de Chartrouse, Rencontres de la Photoraphie, Arles

Les Portes Du Saint Pierre

Galerie Depardieu, Nice

 

 

2006

Nostalgie Du Présent, FNAC

Monaco Nostalgie Du Présent

La Station, Nice

 

 

2002

Sur Le Passage De Quelques Personnes À Travers

DOJO, Nice

 

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

 

2020

1 mètre de distance
Exposition collective avec Benoît Barbagli et Aimée Fleury, Tom Barbagli, Arnaud Biais, Evan Bourgeau, Pauline Brun, Anna Byskov, Marc Chevalier, Joseph Dadoune, Nicolas Daubanes, Kristof Everart, Anne Favret et Patrick Manez, Forstner Gregory, Camille Franch-Guerra, Jacqueline Gainon, Marie Genin, Anne Gérard, Alexandra Guillot, Alice Guittard, Laurie Jacquetty, Sandra Lecoq, Gilles Miquelis, Frédérique Nalbandian, Gérald Panighi, François Paris, Charlotte Pringuey-Cessac, Caroline Rivalan, Omar Rodriguez Sanmartin, Justin Sanchez, Simone Simon, Cedric Teisseire, Florent Testa, Ben Vautier, Agnès Vitani, Agathe Wiesner, Anne-Laure Wuillai et Junko Yamasaki.
Galerie Eva Vautier, Nice

 

 

2019

Cabinet pique-nique, femmes artistes
Installation vidéo Voyage immobile
Avec Olga Adorno, Brigitte Cardinal, Catherine Cattaneo, Caroline Challan-Belval, Elena Ferrer, Jacqueline Gainon, Alexandra Guillot, yayoi Gunji, Yoko Gunji, Corinna Kiefer, Jeanne Le Guff, Louise Luc Kheloui, Stéphanie Marin, Evelyne Noviant, Jackie Monnier Matisse, Lola Parrot, Marinella Senatore, Franka Séverin, Simone Simon, Anna Tomaszewski Maison abandonnée (Villa Cameline), Nice

 

 

2017

Ne regardez pas le renard passer
Installation sonore
Avec Gilles Miquelis, Vivre à en crever
Galerie Eva Vautier, Nice Dans le cadre de l’exposition, Souvenir, réalité ou fiction ?, débat mené par Chiara Palermo (commissaire d’exposition, docteur en philosophie) et Jean-Pierre Joly (psychiatre, psychanalyste)

 

 

2016 

Tribu
Avec Mathieu Alary, Pauline Brun, Joseph Dadoune, Sandra D. Lecoq, Kristof Everart, Gregory Forstner, Jacqueline Gainon, Anita Gauran, Alice Guittard, Philippe Jusforgues, Virginie Le Touze, Natacha Lesueur, Cécile Mainardi, Gilles Miquelis, Frédérique Nalbandian, Gérald Panighi, François Paris, Charlotte Pringuey-Cessac, Simone Simon, Ben Vautier, Agnès Vitani

 

 

2015

Il était une fois… Une exposition de Jean Dupuy et de ses amis : Catherine Cattaneo & Gilbert Caty, Jean Dupuy, Philippe Boulard & Jean-Baptiste Gurly, Jean-Luc Parant, Thierry Lagalla, Simone Simon…Hôtel Burrhus, Vaison-la-Romaine

À Une Année Lumière, Galerie Eva Vautier, Nice

 

 

2014

Mise En Scène, UMAM, Château de Grimaldi, Cagnes sur Mer 2013

Se Dérober, Musée de la Photographie André Villers, Mougins

 

 

2012-2013

L’Art À L’Abattoir, le 109, Nice

 

 

2011

J’aime les femmes et je le prouve

Espace À Débattre, BEN, Nice

 

 

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

 

2014

La Manga Del Mar (MURCIA), photographie N/B (1/5 tirages numériques), série Ainsi Va La Lumière, collection privée

Ambleteuse et Wimereux 2 photographies (EA), série Ainsi Va La Lumière, collection privée

 

2013

Nu Sans Tête, photographie N/B (1/5 tirages numériques), Musée de la Photographie, Mougins

 

2012-2013

L’Art À L’Abattoir, vidéo co/réalisé avec Eric Antolinos Archivée à la médiathèque du MAMAC, Nice

Cabines de Bains BERG, photographie (1/5 tirages numériques), collection privée 2012 Sans Titre, photographie (1/5 tirages numériques), édition Les Portes Du Saint Pierre

 

2011

One, photographie (1/7 tirages numériques), série Nieuwpoort, collection privée

One, photographie (2/7 tirages numériques), série Nieuwpoort, collection privée Bleu 2, photographie (1/7 tirages numériques), série Nieuwpoort, collection privée Charleroi Tuyaux, photographie (1/7 tirages numériques), collection privée

 

2010

Charleroi Box, digigraphie (1/5 tirages numériques), collection privée
Charleroi Metro 1, digigraphie (1/5 tirages numériques), collection privée
Wimereux, photographie (1 et 2/ 5 tirages numériques), série Voyage En Diagonale 2002003, collection privée

 

2009

Les portes Du Saint Pierre, Paroles De Femmes Dans Leur Cité, livre de photographies aux éditions Le Passager Clandestin

Archivé au Musée National de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, Paris

 

2008

Boxing Club, Vidéo-documentaire archivée au Musée National de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, Paris

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

2009

Les Portes Du Saint Pierre, Éditions Le Passage Clandestin, Paris 2006 Nostalgie Du Présent, Éditions e-dite, Paris

 

 

 

FILMOGRAPHY

 

2014

Voie Ferrée, Alicante, Exposition Ainsi Va La Lumière, Galerie Eva vautier, Nice Blockhaus, Wissant, Exposition Ainsi Va La Lumière, Galerie Eva vautier, Nice

 

2014

Château En Espagne, Alicante, Exposition Mise En Scène, Château Grimaldi, Cagnes sur Mer

 

2008

Boxing Club, Festival Cannes, Short Film Corner,

 

2007

Boxing Club, Un Festival C’est Trop Court, Cinéma Rialto, Nice

 

 

2014

Ainsi Va La Lumière, Galerie Eva Vautier, Émission FR3, Nice

 

2009

Les Portes Du Saint Pierre, Émission Escale Festival, Rencontres Internationales de la

Photographie à Arles, Radio France Inter (juillet 2009)
Les Portes Du Saint Pierre, Article dans le Journal Le Monde 2 (septembre 2009)
La Parole aux Sans-Voix, article dans le Journal El Watan (Décembre 2009)

 

2002

Sur Le Passage De Quelques Personnes À Travers, Exposition personnelle, DOJO, Nice

émission FR3
Article Nice Matin (janvier 2002)

 

 

GRANTS, AWARDS

 

2009

Les Portes Du Saint Pierre,
Aide financière du Conseil Général

Aide à l’exposition, Ville de Nice

 

2008

Boxing Club, Vidéo-Documentaire

 

 

 

CURSUS

 

1975-1978

Assistante Photo, Paul Genest, Plateau Sud, Rungis 1978-2002 Photographe

 

2002-2015

Photographe et vidéaste

 

 

Grau du roiGrau-du-roi, Gard, 2012

Silver print, glued. Signed, dated, titled on the back, 53 x 80 cm

 

 

Cité de MurciaCité de Murcia, zone résidentielle Nueva Condomina, 2013
Print on paper, “fine art by” hahnemühle, 30 x 30 cm

Ainsi va la lumière  

Simone Simon , Joseph Dadoune

Exhibition from February 15 to March 22, 2014

Opening February 14, 2014

 

_MG_0133

 

 

Ne regardez pas le renard passer

Simone Simon

Exhibition from January 14 to March 4, 2017

Opening on January 13, 2017

 

 

Ainsi va la lumière - Simone Simon

Personal website :

www.simonesimon.com