Olivier Crouzel’s penchant for a shortcut makes him both a seasoned veteran and budding artist. If his work with images goes back quite some time, it is mainly in the past decade or so where he has taken to a new level a special language whose layers peel away a little bit more as he nears his fetish medium. Photography remains the inevitable checkpoint acting, on the one hand, as the material, a basis for capturing and conserving traces of passing events often outside of the public eye although within urban and less so open spaces and landscapes.
It is, therefore, natural that Olivier Crouzel would opt to incorporate video projection within his work, and more specifically, the use of a mobile device enabling him alone to pair and position images, often still ones that he either took or found, with pastoral combinations of his choice. Like fruit-picking, he adopts a similar method, moving about with his equipment, going from one spot to the next, taking in the sights and sounds innate to each one, and attributing a meaning to each image that he then tucks away for later use in the back of his mind – and on his hard drive. Whether for private purposes or in conjunction with urban events or stage design. he experimented with this staggering form of projection by focusing in on and fine-tuning software tools to bring the images to life, or by using context-related references.
His current approach, on the other hand, stands out well away from over-populated spaces. The goal of the projection, the sudden light-emitting appearance, the palpable and powerful nature of the still image, though also a passing one, its impending disappearance, and of course, the tension in choosing what is projected and how, all lead to this intellectual dimension nearing the stuff dreams – or nightmares – are made of. A case of in-between, between two light sources, for these final photographic images are taken ideally during the pivotal, split-second moment, come nightfall, when the light of day plunged into darkness and the imposing projector light engage in a delicate balancing act. At this moment, the fate of the balance between the added realm and the chosen site is at stake: Be it a luxury Parisian storefront on a small, abandoned home by the sea. a roadside kiosk, an erotic grocery store window on corn cribs or a department store on a cliff, the current series, Campagne urbaine [Urban Rurality] nurtures, no doubt, a critical imagination backed by a disturbing bank of images, oscillating between gimmick and guile, despite in front of it an idle, apocalyptic world devoid of human character.
Art historian and critic