Alencon. Cambodia and the temples of Angkor through the lens of Olivier Heron
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the Alençon Art Museum (Orne) offers an exhibition of photographs by Olivier Hero as part of the exhibition “Jewels of Cambodian Buddhism” and until February 28, 2023.
A contemporary and thoughtful look at the extraordinary monumental complex of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992, this unparalleled presentation A series of photographs by Olivier Heron, Between 2014 and 2015, at this high place of human heritage, it exalts the centuries-old silent dialogue between nature and culture.
“Reflecting the uncertainty of man, it whispers to us one of the key messages of the Buddha. It also resonates with the descriptions of explorations carried out in the same places by Adhemard Leclère at the end of the 19th century”, notes Johanna Mauboussin, curator of the Museum of Fine Arts in Alençon.
Three stays from ten months to one year
Originally from Le Mans, It was in Southeast Asia that Olivier Heron developed a passion for photography after being interested in music and painting.
“Going to Asia is primarily the story of encountering South Vietnamese refugees in the early 90s. The exchanges and dialogues I had with these exiles at that time fascinated me and made me want to discover Asian culture for myself,” says the photographer.
Thus, between 1994 and 1997, he traveled to Southeast Asia three times for ten months to a year.
It was an opportunity to do business that took him to China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
I remember my first report in Terre Sauvage magazine, just a page on the island of Pulau Ubin, not far from bustling Singapore. A page that dedicated the rest of my life to photography, a passion that never left me.
“In the first months of the trip, I took the Chinese bicycle I bought in Canton to move around, stand freely, take pictures and be present. In all these years, I did not go to meet him because the history of Cambodia during this period was written dramatically. »
Originally from Sarthe and settled in Alençon since 2009
I returned to France in 1997 and jazz enthusiast Olivier Heron turned exclusively to black-and-white photography, “a rich cycle of encounters with amazing musicians from festival to festival.”
After working both as a freelancer and in the daily press in Sarthe, came Works in Alençon, early 2009. An opportunity to explore the prefecture of Orne that he didn’t know about… but where he finally settled permanently.
Since then, he has returned to Cambodia only twice, in 2014 and 2015.
This exhibition is ongoing some new pictures from this photo work. “For most, it’s taken at the best time of day: at sunrise. Indeed, laterite is often the rock with high iron hydroxides at the base of these structures. He gives it to him it’s a rust color“A color that is significantly accentuated by the first rays of the sun, as seen in the pictures of Prè Rup or Bayon,” explains Olivier Heron.
“Since the decline of the Khmer civilization in the 15th century, luxuriant vegetation, especially fake cheese makers, has infiltrated the tiniest gap between the stones. If the images of Preah Pralilay, Ta Som or even Baphuo bear impressive testimony, Ta Prohm is its symbol. this combination between flora and stone. It was even deliberately restored and preserved as it was at the time of its discovery.”
These elongated roots surrounding the monuments give the impression of being one with the earth.
“Thus, all the mysticism and poetry of this culture is presented to our modern eyes as a message of mercy from the distant past. A message from the Buddha himself,” concludes the photographer.
“Cambodia. Temples of Angkor, The Message of the Buddha”, an exhibition of photographs by Olivier Héron, at the Museum of Fine Arts and Lace in Alençon until February 28, 2023. There is no additional cost to the museum admission ticket: full price €4, reduced price €3 and free under normal conditions (26 under age, beneficiaries of the social minimum, etc.)
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