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Updated: December 17, 2012 20:30 IST

Take another look

Harshini Vakkalanka
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There is an underlying message.
Special Arrangement
There is an underlying message.

Artist Phillipe Ramette changes the way you look at the world with his gravity-defying photographs

The man in the black suit becomes a superhero. His powers: defying gravity and doing the seemingly impossible. He passes it all off appearing unruffled but not completely unaffected; therein lies his USP.

The man in the black suit is French sculptor and conceptual artist Phillipe Ramette, who demonstrates his “powers” in the photo exhibition titled “The World Upside Down”. These photographs show him in a number of logic-defying photos – contemplating with his feet propped up on the window ledge, lying down on a bed of, well, air; taking a walk up the walls of a room or standing on a balcony that seems to have sprouted from the sea.

What’s more, he can levitate: tied to a rope that, like him, is suspended in space or even on water.

Of course if he can walk on water, why not under water too, as he demonstrates in the series of photographs titled “Rational Exploration of the Undersea”. He is seen in his trademark suit (without diving equipment or oxygen masks) taking a walk on the seabed, among the plants, lying down on the water surface or climbing up a ladder in “The Contact” to reach out the water surface glittering above him.

No, he is not another Criss Angel; neither does he Photoshop his images. But he is an artist and a sculptor at that, so he uses clever, meticulously planned artistry and his skills as a sculptor to pass off these feats. Revealing exactly how, before viewing the exhibition, will simply ruin the experience.

It’s not just about the stunts, there’s an underlying message— in the suit and the gelled hair that stays down even underwater; the surroundings, which can stand alone as well-composed landscapes and the little imperfections that he consciously reveals. The suit is ruffled, there is tension in his hands and blood is seen rushing to his face. And he wants to get his viewer thinking about it all.

He appears invincible in his cleverly planned risks, seemingly untouched by nature’s forces itself while challenging the perspectives of his viewers and altering the way they look at nature and their own worlds.

“Every project begins with a no-holds-barred drawing, without any restrictions. However, it defines the photo clearly,” explains Ramette over e-mail. Then he comes up with the mechanisms that will allow him to assume the postures.

“The costume has different functions. The fact that I am not dressed casually gives the photos a certain value addition. Moreover, the costume is a common thread that unifies all photos. There is no chronology except maybe for the physical change in my body. I try and remain serene because I wish to suggest above all the psychological dimension of the images and not the physical aspect.”

“The World Upside Down”, presented by Gallery Sumukha and the Alliance Francaise in association with the French Embassy in India, will be on view until December 20 at Gallery Sumukha, 24/10, BTS Depot Road, Wilson Garden. For details, contact 22292230.

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