Peter Knapp

Photographer invited to the Festival Planche (s) Contact in 2016

© Peter Knapp, Retrospective, Plate (s) Contact 2016
© Peter Knapp, Retrospective, Plate (s) Contact 2016

Blues, between the Foam and the Heavens

After training at the Decorative Arts in Zurich, Peter Knapp ensured on his arrival in France various artistic directions of magazines in the 1950s, at New Femina or for Galeries Lafayette. In 1959, he took the artistic direction of It. From that date, his photographic work became fashionable, alongside André Courrèges and Emmanuel Ungaro. Through his rigor, his mastery of layout and photography, Peter Knapp is revolutionizing and renewing fashion photography in France: lines and forms are becoming essential. A refined image, the basis of a method that reduces the traditional importance of perspective in favor of sensitive geometry.

In Deauville as part of the Planche (s) Contact festival

First retrospective presented by the Planche (s) Contact festival, these images produced in the 1970s and 80s bear witness to the long and rich match between Deauville and the photography of Peter Knapp.
In the relationship that Peter Knapp maintains with Deauville, it is often a question of orders. Whether for the Courrèges house or for magazines It ou Star, the boards of Deauville and the waterfront provided an ideal setting.
Simultaneously with his fashion images, Peter Knapp produced plastic works at the end of the 1970s, the series of "composite-recomposed" or blue monochromes, which only have the sky as a motif. Working in Deauville allowed him to refine his research, subtle games between clues and geometries, and to play with his images to constitute new fictional landscapes.

Blues, between the foam and the heavens, is an exhibition created in collaboration with François Cheval and Audrey Hoareau (Musée Nicéphore Niepce / Association The Red Eye) for Planche (s) Contact 2016.
The exhibition was presented with the support of Olympus.


François Cheval about the Bleus exhibition, between Foam and the Heavens: 
Photography has long ceased to be a way of knowing the world. At very rare times, our memory remembers the time when we celebrated celestial beauty or marine splendor. For Peter Knapp, a modern pseudo, photography remains an absolute event, a convulsion of the universe. Let’s not smile at this statement. Must the world be so trivial for such a proposal to cause astonishment and mockery! By his nostalgia for the infinite, Peter Knapp exercises his profession as a photographer. This unexpected way in which he sets up his models facing the sea, this surprising method of cutting the sky and the waves, of melting them, undoubtedly comes from his particular mistrust of merchandise. Man has been able to do with things, even better, to play with them. 

He knows how to make each of us a co-owner of the primary elements: the sky and the sea share. They are easily distributed for those who know how to watch them. The ambition here is limitless, having fun with contingency. She drowns it in the water and sucks it in the blue of the sky. Beauty has no attributable place. It proceeds from a contact provoked by the photographer and leads us to the threshold of the unspeakable and the disturbance of the mind. 

The object photographed is twofold. It combines contingency, that is to say satisfaction, with what cannot be imagined. The opposition between the thing and the infinite, between the derisory and the remarkable is not one. The juxtaposition of these two moments is necessary. Without the primary elements, this photograph admits its poor materialism, without the products of man, it gets lost in metaphysics to reach the barren lands of speculation. The photograph of Peter Knapp is nothing other than the resolution of this false opposition. In him, the contradiction does not arise. It reconciles the immobility of things and the worry of the enigma. 



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