La main et l’oeil

Laurence Aëgerter

Nov. 26 - Feb 20, 2021
Opening Nov. 26, 5 - 8 pm (2 - 5 pm VIP only) | Part of Amsterdam Art Gallery Weekend, Nov. 26-29

Presenting the series Louvre Plage & Compositions synesthétiques


For years, Laurence Aëgerter has been immersed in her visual research on the power of images. She questions the process of perception and investigates various strategies to activate the spectator. One of her most treasured areas of research are great icons of art and culture; they accumulate in museum catalogues as well as ‘found images’ via online search engines.

Tête Salt (visage), 2020, from the series Louvre Plage. Hahnemühle Fine Art print, 80 x 66 cm, maple tray frame, ed. 6 + 2 AP

For the exhibition La main et l’oeil at Galerie Caroline O’Breen, Aëgerter presents her latest project Louvre Plage (2020) for the first time, in addition to the complete series of the partially known Compositions synesthétiques (2016-2020). Both series are based on masterpieces — sculpture, painting, and engraving from ancient times up to the 16th century. Her fascination with the original artworks drives her to further engage with the works by adding a play of lines and objects. In these series, each image is a product of a continued search of seemingly endless possibilities, where every millimeter reveals itself as a surprising turn in the hunt for a form of naturalness.

Louvre Plage

In Louvre Plage, Aëgerter has arranged found objects from the beach upon which she grew up in Marseille onto the illustrations of the book Les Merveilles du Louvre (Hachette, Paris, 1958). She creates images that on the one hand demystify the iconic masterpieces and on the other hand lets the ordinary objects transcend the mundane.

Turan, divinité étrusque, 2020, from the series Louvre Plage. Hahnemühle Fine Art print, 80 x 58 cm, maple tray frame, ed. 6 + 2 AP

Her research on Louvre Plage has been gathered as momentum in its entirety, the 25 photographs have been collected in an archive box. In addition, Aëgerter also presents the enlargement of the individual images, emphasizing the different materials such as the grid of the printed paper, stone, or wood, which gives the overall image a new materiality. 

Compositions synesthétiques

In Compositions synesthétiques, Aëgerter has drawn lines on ten of her favorite engravings by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) in a game between intuition and reason (somewhat inspired by her art history studies). Her compositions, printed in the true format of the originals, are meticulously screen printed with colourful and tangible lines in gravel, braille, and rubber. The lines, colour, and texture effects highlight parts of Dürer’s depictions, revealing a realm of subjective interpretations. The Compositions synesthétiques are works of art that can be viewed and touched simultaneously, enhancing the perception of the artwork. This invite is echoed by the title of the series, as synesthesia is a phenomenon of a multi-sensory experience. Just as Aëgerter has engaged with every detail of the prints’ surfaces, so can the viewer.

Hercules at the crossroads (Dürer), 2020, from the series Compositions synesthétiques. Silkscreened ultrachrome print, 32 x 22.1 cm, ed. 6 + 2 AP

Unequal Lovers (Dürer), 2020, from the series Compositions synesthétiques. Silkscreened ultrachrome print, 15 x 13.8 cm, ed. 6 + 2 AP

The extensive oeuvre of Laurence Aëgerter (FR, 1972) comprises photographic series, artist’s books, multiples, site-specific installations, textile works, and community projects. Aëgerter makes inventive use of archives and existing images from illustrated books to museum collections, in a transcultural and transhistorical practice reflecting on the meaning of the image in relation to identity and collective memory.

She has exhibited in several international solo and group shows and made site-specific installations and art in community projects in assignments for a number of cities and museums.

Recent solo exhibitions include: Ici mieux qu’en face, Petit Palais, Paris (Oct. 2020 – Jan. 2021); Night Hunt, Machinery of Me, Arnhem (March – Aug. 2020); Le Louvre, Mamac, Nice; Arithmetic of photographic perception, Forum für Fotografie, Cologne; Herbarium Cataplasma, Fries Museum, Leeuwarden; The Modernists and More, Hermitage Museum, Amsterdam.
Recent group shows feature: From Here On, Arts Santa Monica Museum, Barcelona/FoMu, Antwerp, Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles; 5e Lagos Photo Festival Nigeria; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Frans Hals Museum Haarlem and Fotomuseum Rotterdam.

Aëgerter won the Nestlé International Prize for Photography, Festival Images Vevey 2016 and the Author Book Award at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles 2018.

Her works are included in private and public collections of, among others, a.o. Paul Getty Center Los Angeles, The New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, Dolhuys Museum of the Mind, Haarlem, Fries Museum Leeuwarden, Museum van Loon Amsterdam, MAMAC Nice and BnF Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.