A child smiling mysteriously. A bride on her wedding night. Tibetan monks playing with a ball… At first glance, it seems that Pierre Poulain’s exhibition presents before our eyes a set of random pictures, the only thing common between them, is a high aesthetic quality and a focus on the human being in its different aspects. But a deeper observation of the exhibition presents before us a secret layer, which exposes itself more with every look. This layer, although at first, invisible to our eyes, brings meaning to the order in which the exhibition is arranged, and touches the philosophical outlook of the photographer.
Pierre Poulain began his path as a photographer in France during the 80’s, but left the field after a couple of years. In recent years, Pierre resumed photographing, as his deepening philosophy studies brought a new depth and sensitivity to his pictures. This is because philosophy is a process that changes the essence of the man practicing it, making him more alert and present. One of the definitions of the Philosopher is “a searcher for the truth”, and in this exhibition Pierre sought to build a bridge for us, a bridge that will allow us to touch that same abstract conception called “Truth”, that he himself has devoted his life to the search for.
We all wear masks; we are all born into a certain cultural and social view of things. This view limits our horizons and stands as a veil on our eyes, blocking the light of reality, the objective, universal world.
But, on some special moments, a certain human experience can suddenly open our perception to something new, different, interior and deep which is beyond the limitations of time and space, which is found beyond social customs. In these moments, the real person is exposed, as he is… without masks and veils. These moments come and go, like the foam of the waves. But this is exactly the amazing ability of the art of photography – capturing a moment, and perpetuating it, meaning, making it perpetual.
At these times, when everyone has his own truth, Pierre Poulain comes to remind us, using the art of photography, that a common truth also exists. Our common fate as humans and our universal pursuit of happiness. This is a fact which evades us in our everyday life. But through art, the memory returns, and again we understand that although we are one of many, the many are also one.
Gilad Sommer – Head of the Tristan Institute of Art in Israel