Thursday, March 3, 2011
9. Jacques Olivar
Cold Blood: Jacques Olivar’s Women
Helmut Newton showed them, dressed or undressed, confident and proud; Guy Bourdin staged them as persiflage of sex and crime; Juergen Teller consciously provoked with the idea of “white trash.” The women Jacques Olivar (*1941) photographs appear like the heroines of old Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films in the heyday of Kodacolor, when after the roar of the lion, passion, yearning, and drama inexorably unfolds. And at the same time the models he arranges and stages so theatrically seem absent, solitary, perhaps even melancholy. What characterizes Olivar’s photos and makes them so filmic is the narrative condensed into one single image – a plot we have to puzzle together in our own imagination. Only few photographers like the Casablanca-born Olivar are in the position to stage every detail so precisely and simultaneously allow us the space to create our own photo narratives. What Olivar, like Newton or Bourdin, masters so convincingly is the art of suggestion, visual seduction and building tension, so that we look at his images and automatically ask ourselves what happened before and after the split-second of the situation captured. Art is often the most exciting when it throws the viewer back for a moment. In this way, Olivar’s photographs repeatedly ask: Does Olivar’s subject belong to the millions of lonely hearts of the city, or is she so lost in thought because she is right in that moment experiencing an emotional drama or is about to experience one a few seconds after the picture is taken?
In contemporary photography, Jacques Olivar is a singular phenomenon because he understands how to ably connect beauty, glamour, and femininity with a perpetual fascination for the narrative.
Fashion found its medium in photography. The constant transformation so characteristic of the fashion world is in photography always present and up-to-date and yet simultaneously outlives the times. This realization came to light during the fashion magazines’ heyday in the thirties and forties when the woman was discovered as a consumer good, laying the groundwork for today’s flourishing model cult. Since then, there have been many masters of the genre, but there are only a few that have maintained their presence over the decades. Jacques Olivar (*1941) is one of them. His portraits subtly tread a territory between fashion, pin-up, and Hollywood. Every generation needs an updated version of the photographs one might traditionally find in a soldier’s locker or a sailor’s room, but Olivar decidedly widens this target group with his exquisite, upgraded pinups. These icons are there for all to take pleasure in; they are the contemporary form of glamour.
Dr. Boris von Brauchitsch
See more work by Jacques HERE