As part of Art Basel’s “Positions” program, selected galleries are invited to present the work of a single artist. As part of this year’s program, Parisian gallery Gaudel de Stampa presented an ethereal series of photographs by French artist Dove Allouche, who is based in Paris. Allouche’s inspiration evolved from a series of solar flare images made by astrophysicist Jules Janssen in 1903. As with many contemporary artists working with photography, Allouche creatively deconstructs the photographic process and explores the history of the medium itself.
Allouche reproduces Janssen’s original 30 astral images using a historic photographic process called the physautotype, which was developed in 1832 by the very creators of photography, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre. The physautotype process creates a photographic image by using a camera obscura to expose a plate of silver, which has been treated with a mixture of lavender oil and ethanol. The result is a series of delicate and abstract projections that float on the mirrored silver plates, and transform as they are approached from different angles.
Allouche’s images produce a tension between the negative and positive, and between the visible and the invisible. This subtle and tranquil exhibit—which can be found on the fringes of the frenzy of Art Basel Miami—should not be missed.
Photos by Jonah Samson