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Galerie Les filles du Calvaire

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Todd Hido

Todd Hido

The Black Mechanism

Exhibition from May 17 to June 18, 2022

The gallery Les Filles du Calvaire is pleased to present the solo exhibition of the American photographer Todd Hido: The Black Mechanism. The artist returns to Paris with a new set of powerful images, taken mostly in the United States. The landscapes photographed by the artist show a desolate and dark world, a precipice in time from which one senses it will struggle to emerge. This new landscape body of work is intertwined with portraits that express a subtle disquiet, and suggest an ambient darkness.

“For the essay in my book Bright Black World, published in 2018, the first sentence Alexander Nemerov wrote was: “The end sends advance warning”. He could have stopped right there because those five words have infected me and my pictures in the best way. As a visual artist it often only takes a few potent words to clarify and motivate one to create. Much of my new work is made with that phrase echoing in my subconscious as I look at the spaces I move through. With the black mechanism in my hands that gathers my thoughts and feelings, I bear witness to the world that we live in. In my last book, I explored my feelings of a darker world that I saw us slipping into. To my great dismay, I see no sudden reprieve or respite.

Yet, in the front window of my home, we have posted a handmade sign that says ‘Tooth + Nail’; take it as a declaration that we won’t go down easily.”

The set of landscapes presented at the gallery are the result of several journeys, and was for the artist the opportunity to take the pulse of the country. In the middle of winter, Todd Hido takes advantage of the elements to paint a scenery of devastation.  His own feelings are expressed here, but this pessimistic trouble is also universal. In the undertow of his images he tells us about an era of wars, first between men, but also against the Earth.

His talent is also evident in the art of portraiture. He likes to mix people and places, and the combination becomes cinematic. Pure and unfiltered, his portraits seem to give substance to the observation made above. Pensive and melancholic, these characters exhibit a longing and loss that many of us know intimately. However, in each image the light from within is captured by this black box. There is always a ray, even a frail one, to illuminate faces, forests, and icy territories. We would like to believe this is a matter of hope.

Nelli Palomäki

Nelli Palomäki

Speed of Dark

Exhibition from May 17 to June 18, 2022

After a first solo show in 2018, Galerie Les filles du calvaire is pleased to present Speed of Dark by photographer Nelli Palomäki. Known for her timeless black and white portraits, mostly of children and young people, Nelli Palomäki takes an enigmatic look at evolving beings, family relationships and memory. Here at the gallery, she presents a new series of photographs marked by long periods spent at home in the Finnish countryside. Guided by the circumstances she took a deeper look what lies close to her. Working strictly around her house and the garden, with her close ones, the artist has developed an intimate and personal body of work. She questions our relationship to time and our daily environment, the duality of taming and wildness by instrumentalizing the alternations of light and darkness.

Speed of Dark by Nelli Palomäki (extract) :

« Darkness is both a mental and a concrete matter. Although the dark is taking over at times, it’s the light that is leading our way.

Nothing controls the process of making a photograph like light, or the lack of it. We live in a country where darkness seems to swallow us every autumn. Observing the light, and the absence of it, becomes obsessive. Mostly the light is at its most beautiful just before slipping away – or just between the arise and all too bright again.

All this recent time spent home made me realize how little I see, (or rather – stop and look!), what surrounds me. The beauty of the mundane, and the beauty of the cycle of the year, so strongly connected to the amount of light – and the dark. Garden waking up, blooming and dying again. Children secretly growing, myself reluctancly aging. Four seasons alternating and defining our spirits. This all endlessly repeating. Each year, by the end of the summer we are already frightened by the following months of darkness, on winter solstice we again hooray the light and bright that is on its way.”