“Still-life” (2022-2023) is a series of images by Belgian photographer Olivier-John that depicts and questions the presence of nature, humanity and culture in today’s technocratic urbanity. These images were captured in New York, Montreal, Brussels, Tunis, The Hague and Venice, using the technique of superimposing images at the very moment of shooting, Where 2 or 3 images caress or stare at each other, ultimately forming a single image that will never be seen in the real world. With “Still-life”, Olivier-John offers us a wordless theater where “still lifes” rub shoulders with the struggle for life, accompanying us in a “wandering” that is free and multiple. To be seen in Arles from July 18 to 31, 2023 & at the “We art XL” artists’ trail and at Volta, in October 2023.


Olivier-John was born in Brussels, where he now lives. In his recent photographic work, he draws his inspiration from the pictorialist movement of the early 20th century (Robert Demachy (1859-1936), Alvin Coburn (1882-1966), Edward Steichen (1879-1973). Pictoralism, a veritable semantic and conceptual bridge between painting and photography, aimed to combat the standardization of images that resulted from the technical revolutions that brought the photographic act within the reach of an ever-wider public. In the age of smartphones and selfies, the trivialization of images, “all available in perfect sharpness”, gives him a sense of “déjà-vu”, where technology once again imposes an imprint on reality that is out of keeping with the artistic ambition of subjectivity resisting “order”. In this context of “art’s loss of aura” (Walter Benjamin), Olivier-John wishes to (re)valorize matter by freely combining creative gestures and superimposed images to magnify resistance to mortifying technologies.