March 17th 2020, noon : Paris deserted, Paris silent, Paris locked-down but Paris dazzling!

March 17, 2020, noon: Paris deserted, Paris silent, Paris locked-down but Paris dazzling!

Photographs by Jean-Christophe Ballot

The lockdown has blocked the population in the private sphere.The photographer started shooting in April, three weeks after the start of the lockdown, and cessation of activities. Jean-Christophe Ballot’s urban landscapes then tell the other face of this “confinement” in Paris.

The corollary is that the public sphere has been emptied. This game of busy and emptiness was particularly astonished where normally the flow of people was the most important: that of cities.

Jean-Christophe Ballot’s urban landscapes then tell the other face of this lockdown.

To photograph the space of the city is to work on the void. But here the project is exacerbated: it is about report on the vacuum of the vacuum! The space is the street, the square with their reception functions for residents and traffic flows. The purpose is now to include in the image the empty sidewalk of pedestrians, the empty asphalt of vehicles. The frame is then a device which marks both the recognition of a known and identifiable place (most often emblematic of Paris) and its vision unusual, strange because bloodless of its inhabitants. The flesh is emptied of its blood.

The artist has chosen the radicality of light (with a few exceptions). ” Under the sun exactly. Not next door, not anywhere. Exactly under the sun” sings Serge Gainsbourg. The harsh light, often at its Zenith, without artifice means that “it was so”. He is the chronicler of a unique moment in the history of Paris.

Paris locked down is a photographic story that is addressed to all locked people who will thus discover the face of a surprising Paris in this historic time, suspended and silent …

Jean-Christophe Ballot was born and has always lived in Paris. He knows his city well, traveling it since always on a motorcycle. To make this portrait of Paris, he therefore made choices dictated by his knowledge of the city and by his experience of more than thirty years of photography of urban landscapes from cities to across the planet. In 2008, his personal exhibition at the European House of Photography was the compilation of works on fifteen cities around the world, from New York to Shanghai, from Berlin to Surabaya …

The photographer started shooting in April, three weeks after the start of the locked down, and cessation of activities. With the decrease in pollution the light permanent atmospheric veil had disappeared, and the atmosphere of Paris had found a unique transparency. This exceptional quality of light crosses his photographs.

Jean-Christophe Ballot was able to work thanks to a press certificate which served as an exemption traveling to present during police checks. He expresses all his recognition at ABACA press for this precious help.

Fotofest 2020, Biennale de Houston, Texas, March 8th – April 19th

March 8 – April 19, 2020, Citywide

Curated by Mark Sealy MBE, Director of the renowned London-based photographic art institution Autograph ABP, African Cosmologies is a large-scale group exhibition that examines the complex relationships between contemporary life in Africa, the African diaspora, and global histories of colonialism, photography, and rights and representation. The exhibition considers the history of photography as one closely tied to a colonial project and Western image production, highlighting artists who confront and challenge this shortsighted, albeit canonized lineage.

Taking its cues from John Coltrane’s avant-garde jazz oeuvre, wherein formal modernisms of the past are made complex by radical imagination and black-futurity, this presentation of diverse ideas, artistic approaches, and material histories proposes a “cosmological exploration” of Africa and the African diaspora — one that defies easy categorization and spatial and temporal boundaries. Succinctly, it explores the very notions of Africa and Africanness beyond traditional geographic and historical lines.

The Biennial artists turn an eye to social, cultural, and political conditions that inform and influence concepts of representation as they pertain to image production and circulation within Africa and beyond. These artists question the ways in which subjectivity is constructed and deconstructed by the camera, and in the process, reveal legacies of resistance by those who defy traditional ideas of sexual, racial, gender-based, and other marginalized identities.

The artists featured in the Biennial 2020 Central Exhibition include:

Faisal Abdu’Allah (UK)
Akinbode Akinbiyi (Nigeria/UK)
Hélène A. Amouzou (Togo/Belgium)
Sammy Baloji (Congo/Belgium)
James Barnor (Ghana/UK)
Bruno Boudjelal (France/Algeria)
Edson Chagas (Angola)
Ernest Cole (South Africa)
Jamal Cyrus (United States)
Jean Depara (Angola/Congo)
Laura El-Tantawy (Egypt/UK)
Samuel Fosso (Cameroon/France)
Eric Gyamfi (Ghana)
Lyle Ashton Harris (United States)
Samson Kambalu (Malawi/UK)
Rotimi Fani-Kayode (Nigeria)

Leo with Shobun Baile (Brazil/United States)
Mónica de Miranda (Angola/Portugal)
Santu Mofokeng (South Africa)
Sethembile Msezane (South Africa)
Zanele Muholi (South Africa)
Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopia)
Eustáquio Neves (Brazil)
Nyaba L. Ouedraogo (Burkino Faso/France)

Rosana Paulino (Brazil)
Dawit L. Petros (Eritrea/United States/Canada)
Aida Silvestri (Eritrea/UK)
Lindokuhle Sobekwa (South Africa/United States)
Wilfred Ukpong (Nigeria/France)
Carrie Mae Weems (United States)
Zina Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria/United States)

Curator Mark Sealy writes, “The impact and the gravitational pull of the contemporary African photographic artist on the universe of photography has resulted in photography’s traditional epistemes–its deadly colonialities–being reluctantly dragged into processes of remaking, delinking and rethinking the work of images in culture. The artists presented in African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and Other are not simply reflective commentators, travelers, flaneurs, or self-appointed interpreters, rather they represent a commitment to human well-being and the production and sharing of new and old knowledges.”


An exhibition book co-published by FotoFest and Schilt Publishing will be produced in conjunction with the FotoFest Biennial 2020, African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and the Other. The publication will feature images by the included artists and essays by Steven Evans, Christine Eyene, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Azu Nwagbogu, Olu Oguibe, and Mark Sealy.

FotoFest is organizing a series of films with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to accompany the African Cosmologiesexhibition. Dates and titles to be announced in January 2020.

A symposium exploring the themes and artists of the African Cosmologies program will take place March 21, 2020 from 10-5pm at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The symposium will include panels and presentations from Biennial artists with experts on contemporary and historic African history, diaspora, colonization, art and photography. Details and participants to be announced in January 2020.

Other public cultural programs, including artist talks and tours, culinary, music, literary, and family events are planned, and will be announced as finalized.

Dr. Mark Sealy MBE is interested in the relationships between photography and social change, identity politics, race, and human rights. He has been director of London-based photographic arts institution Autograph ABP since 1991 and has produced numerous artist publications, curated exhibitions, and commissioned photographers and filmmakers worldwide, including the critically acclaimed exhibition Human Rights Human Wrongs at Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto in 2013 and at The Photographers’ Gallery, London in 2015.

Sealy has written for international photography publications, including Foam Magazine, Aperture, Creative Camera and Next Level, and written numerous essays for publications and artist monographs. In 2002, Sealy and professor Stuart Hall coauthored Different, which focuses on photography and identity politics. Recent notable projects include the exhibition The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding / Decoding for the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto and critically acclaimed exhibitions on the works of James Van Der Zee, Gordon Parks, Carrie Mae Weems, Rotimi Fani-Kayode and on the works of Mahtab Hussain and Maud Sulter.

His most recent book, Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time, was published in 2019 by Lawrence and Wishart.

Founded in Houston in 1983, FotoFest promotes international awareness of museum-quality photographic and new media art from around the world. The first and longest running photographic arts festival in the United States, the first FotoFest Biennial was held in 1986. It is considered one of the leading international photography Biennials in the world.

As an international platform for photographic and new media art, the FotoFest Biennial has become known as a showcase for the discovery and presentation of important new work and talent from around the world. The Biennial takes place citywide in Houston with participation from leading art museums, art galleries, non-profit art spaces, universities and civic spaces. The Biennial has an audience of 275,000 people from 34 countries. This audience includes a select group of 150 museum curators, gallerists, publishers, editors, photography collectors, directors of non-profit art spaces and international festivals from Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada and the United States.

Early funding for the development and presentation of the FotoFest Biennial 2020 comes from Houston Endowment; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; Texas Commission on the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts; City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance; The Wortham Foundation; FotoFest Board of Directors; Silver Street Studios; and generous donors to the FotoFest Annual Fund.

Major funding for FotoFest’s educational programming is provided by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, and The Powell Foundation.

Happy New year 2020

In 2020, our gallery celebrates its fifteen years, fifteen years of artistic encounters, discovery and passion.

Relocate for two years in Luberon National Park, we appreciate it privileged place where nature is still preserved.

In the heart of the village of Beaumettes, a seventh centurey chapel offers our gallery a wonderful splace to exhibit since 2018 contemporary art shows.

Join us as from May at Chapel Sainte-Foy, an exhibition place where we will welcome you for a moment of artistic sharing.

Montée du Château,


(Facing “Calavon bicycle path”)

St’Art 2019

After the warm welcome received when exhibiting the artists of the show “Afreeca”n in Luberon, galerie Galea will expose its artists during the Contemporary Art fair St’art in Strasbourg, France from November 15h through 17th. Along the five artists who participate in “Afreeca” , the gallery will present two other artists, a new comer from Burkina Faso and a confirmed and well known artist Andries J. Botha.
These artists from the the African continent give a free artistic expression of their African identities.

Mamoudou Bolly, born in Burkina Faso, lives there after along journey in France. he uses recycled metal parts that he add to his paintings on canvas which depict naïve drawings of human and animals or animals that illustrate how a child looks at the world.

Andries J. Botha, Sud-African, lives in Durban. He founded The Human Elephant Foundation. The gallery present “Anissa Anima Mea”, a sculpture in wood on a metal base. This sculpture has been exhibited at Fondation Villa Datris from may to november 2019 within the show “Bêtes de scène”.

Siriky KY, born in Ivory Coast, lives in Burkina Faso. “The precious heads” Unique bronze pieces made entirely by the artist in his studio in Ouagadougou, 2018. These bronze works depict deformed heads of Griots who, in the West African tradition, are families that have orally transmitted knowledge from generation to generation. In the spirit of the peoples of these regions, the skulls, even after the death of the person, still contain knowledge and that is the reason why they are deformed by time but still visible because the bodies of the Griots are never buried.
Siriki Ky wanted to pay tribute to the ancestral traditions of his compatriots in a material, bronze, which crosses the time.
yanda Mabulu, South Africa, lives in Johannesburg. He has a satirical look at the governance of his country, the misfortunes, the abuses, with a strong, engaged style, a brush that denounces the packages of a system.

Nyaba Leon OUEDRAOGO, Burkinabé, lives in Paris, photographer. He delivers a narrative in pictures of the traditions and State of the current civilization of West African countries. The ghosts of the Congo River, the painted men of tribal painting, the Congolese youth in a green country.

Mamady Seydi, Senegalese, lives in Mbour. He gives a note of wisdom and humor to his sculptures, the animals of the jungle have replaced humans to give them a universal character. Each installation is the illustration of a Wolof proverb that translates the way of thinking of a Sage.

Dominique Zinkpè, Beninese, lives in Cotonou. It brings a personal view of the different continents. The mask in African statuary is a face of the actor, it conceals the truth. In his series of unmasked continents, Dominique delivers a staging of the clichés that symbolize the richness of the peoples of these continents.
“Ibedji in Nigeria, Hohô in Benin, Vénavi in Togo and Ghana. The word Ibedji sums up the cult of twins. If my work speaks about it, it’s because I was surprised that these 4 countries share the same cultural traditions.
In my work, the twins can become an airplane, a boat, the man of power, while respecting the sense of the Ibedji.
I was also interested in Ibedji because I am Agossou, which means “born upside down”. That’s what we call children born by the seat. Traditionally it is thought that children born in the siege are the elders of twins because they did not do the normal cycle of other children. They are categorized as heads of twins. ”
Excerpt from Dominique Zinkpe’s interview 2017 – Zinsou Foundation
This sculpture has been exhibited in a group show: Persona at the Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium.



« The thirty-six views of the Sainte Victoire »


Exhibition of photographs by Jean-Christophe Ballot from 3 to 25 August 2019 at the Sainte-Foy Chapel 84220 Beaumettes.


Cézanne painted 44 oils, 43 drawings and watercolours of the Sainte-Victoire. Working on the motif with determination and passion, he brought this mountain into the history of art.


It was all this for Jean-Christophe Ballot, but it was only that: it lacked the meeting, the confrontation instead. It existed only in its representation: the incarnation was still missing.


As part of an artist’s residency set up for him in 2009 by Le Grand Site Sainte-Victoire, Jean-Christophe Ballot walked the mountain in search of a revelation. From his experience, according to the four seasons and echoing the “Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji” engraved by Hokusaï, the artist retains a sequence of thirty-six views of the mountain in forty-six paintings.


With ten views of the quarries of Bibémus, a hollow mountain where Cézanne’s shed is still located, this ensemble is the exhibition “The Four Seasons of the Holy Victory” and the book “The Thirty-six Views of the Holy Victory” by Gallimard. By mixing the images of Jean-Christophe Ballot with texts by Peter Handke, the book forces the unprecedented encounter of two works and two timeless and romantic perspectives on a site inscribed in our natural and cultural heritage.


The mountain, in our Judeo-Christian culture, is the place of asceticism, of effort, of penance in solitude. This spiritual movement is found in many religions: one moves away from the secular world to rise to God.


Jean-Christophe Ballot carries the spiritual values of Buddhism focused on the ephemeral nature of things, those little things that photography knows so well how to capture: a burst of light on a bark in the foreground, or on the top in the distant…


And those of Shintoism oriented towards the full power of nature, greatness and majesty of the mountain.


This work is therefore this poetic meditation of the photographer facing the mountain.


But is this enough to explain the fascination that the mountain exerts on man?


The artist testifies: “I found, while crisscrossing the paths of the Sainte-Victoire, emotions that inhabited me on the road to Santiago de Compostela, in the fall of 1996. It was on Le Chemin that I discovered the joy of travelling the landscape, in an effort of the body, until i got lost in it, dissolved in it.


Then the gaze is carried to the horizon, or the top of the mountain.


Then the gaze reaches this fullness, in this apparent paradox of detachment and communion with the world. It’s a joy.”


The mountain: this unlikely encounter of heaven and earth.