Jean-Christophe Ballot

France 1960


Jean-Christophe Ballot
Jean-Christophe Ballot
April 24, 2016
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Emptiness often conceals invisible presences, and the visible materiality just isn’t enough to reveal what happened in the past. Instead, one must embrace that emptiness and follow the traits made by the floating spirits. Jean-Christophe Ballot is a French architectural photographer, who constantly calls upon memory and investigates about the places, their transformations, and history. All of his work is concerned with space – the empty space, to be precise, which is always in the center of his photography. The absence of the humans is noticeable, but it only emphasizes the concept of emptiness, without reducing the significance or the meaning of the artworks.

Jean-Christophe Ballot - Wrigley Building, 2006 - The Art Institute of Chicago, Cristoforo Stati's Samson and the Lion (Italy, c. 1600), 2009
Jean-Christophe Ballot – Wrigley Building, 2006 / The Art Institute of Chicago, Cristoforo Stati’s Samson and the Lion (Italy, c. 1600), 2009, photo credits Jennifer Norback Fine Art

The Poetry of a Deserted World

There are a couple of explanations for this absence of humans – first is to imagine the poetry of a deserted world, a spectral one where exists nothing more than simple scenery, shadow passages and empty buildings without men. The second is to take into consideration that Ballot is a passionate architectural photographer, who includes reality through its historical or contemporary frame. There is no intent of dehumanization or alienation. The artist is simply excluding the makers and users of the places he photographs, truly allowing himself to address only the memories. By seeking the sensation of suspended time, the artist makes his photography contemplative.

The viewers experience a sensation of suspended time

Jean-Christophe Ballot - Rungis Market II - Usines Renault 1
Jean-Christophe Ballot – Rungis Market II / Usines Renault 1, photo credits Galerie Galea

An Architect

Ballot is an architect, and the type of photography he does comes as a natural extension to his vocation. He holds the Graduate Degrees from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs and the National School of Image and Sound: FEMIS. The 1991 Villa Medici’s prize and the Air France prize in 1987 stand out among the many awards he’s won. Ballot has always sought places overwhelmed with spiritual energy (Bali and Java, the temples of southern India, Mount Athos), places of memory (the former Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Louvre museum), but also the cities with rich architectural and urban landscapes (Singapore, Rome, Berlin, Bratislava, Paris) and industrial zones and harbors (Surabaya, Casablanca).

The artist has always sought spiritual and places of memory

Jean-Christophe Ballot - La prudence, une des quatre vertus cardinales, tombeau de Louis XII et d'Anne de Bretagne, 2014
Jean-Christophe Ballot – La prudence, une des quatre vertus cardinales, tombeau de Louis XII et d’Anne de Bretagne, 2014, photo credits Boico’s Fine Arts

Freedom and Memories

Surprisingly, the viewers are invited into this architectural and motionless world and yet are given an absolute freedom of movement so they could explore the memories, reconnect with the past and contemplate the future. Ballot’s composition is simply marvelous, designed in such a manner that the viewer’s gaze continues to circulate, never remaining for too long on a specific detail. They are instead encouraged to try to see the bigger picture, embrace the emptiness and enjoy in the timeless presence, so masterfully created by the artist.

He is represented by Galerie Galea in L’Isle sur la Sorgue.

Jean-Christophe Ballot lives and works in Paris.

Featured image: Jean-Christophe Ballot – portrait, image copyright the artist

All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Dormeurs de Saint DenisEglise des Billettes, Paris, FranceSolo
2015Regards croisésConstantine, AlgeriaSolo
2015Le Souper de pierreChâteau de Gordes, Gordes, FranceSolo
2015AustralieCentre d’arts et de nature, Château de Chaumont, Chaumont-sur-Loire, FranceSolo
2015Totems royauxEglise de Saint-Merry, Paris, FranceSolo
2015Mythes et sculptures classiques dans la photo contemporaineChris Boïcos Fine Arts, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, FranceGroup
2014Paysages urbains de ThessaloniqueInstitut français de Thessalonique, Thessaloniki, GreeceSolo
2014UnknownTorri e Merli Boutique Hotel, Lakka, Paxos, GreeceGroup
2014Paris champ & hors champBilbliothèque historique de la ville de Paris, Paris, FranceGroup
2013Photographie ou céramiquegalerie Galéa, Ile-sur-Sorgue, FranceSolo
2013Paxos - Landscapes and MythsBoïcos Fine Arts, Gaios, Paxos, GreeceGroup
2013Chicago in ParisGalerie Beckel Odille Boicos, Paris, FranceGroup
2012Le Louvre transfiguré with Mimo JodiceModern Art Museum of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, GreeceSolo
2012Visions orientalistesFez, MorroccoSolo
2012Dieu et DionysosGalerie 8, Arles, FranceSolo
2012Corse célesteGalerie 8, Arles, FranceSolo
2012ArtificesGalerie Beckel Odille Boïcos, Paris, FranceGroup
2011Le Louvre transfiguréNational Museum, Damascus Syria, Centre Culturel Français, Beirut, Saïda, ByblosSolo
2011PaysagesGalerie Galéa, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, FranceSolo
2010Les quatre saisons de la Sainte VictoireCentre d’art contemporain 200RD10 (Vauvenargues)Solo
2010Jean-Christophe BallotGalerie 8, Arles, FranceSolo
2010SculptureGalerie Beckel Odille Boïcos, Paris, FranceGroup
2010Art streetGalerie Alexandre Cadain, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Paris - Chicago, the Photography of Jean-Christophe BallotLoyola University Museum of Art, Chicago IL, USASolo
2009After-HoursMuseum Jennifer Norback Fine Art, Chicago IL USASolo
2009VanitésGalerie Alexandre Cadain, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Urban LandscapesGalerie Beckel-Odille-Boïcos, Paris, FranceGroup
2008Urban Landscapes de Berlin à Shanghai Maison Européenne de la PhotographieParis, FranceSolo
2008L’EnferGalerie Beckel Odille Boïcos, Paris, FranceSolo
2008MutamorphosesGalerie Acte2, Paris, FranceSolo
2008Passage en revueGalerie 127 Marrakech, MoroccoSolo
2008Cent et une chaises-œuvresMinistère de la Culture, Paris, FranceGroup
2008Une traversée photographique du XXe siècleMusée d’histoire contemporaine, Paris, FranceGroup
2008Beyond the IconicLos Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles CA, U.S.A.Group
2007Ile Seguinpaysage avec figures absentes Espace Landowski, Boulogne-Billancourt, FranceSolo
2007PorcelaineFondation Bernardaud, Limoges, FranceSolo
2007VanitésGalerie Métanoïa, Paris, FranceSolo
2006Pinacles et termitièresGalerie Christine Phal, Paris, FranceSolo
2006ChroniquesNomades, Honfleur, FranceSolo
2006Artsénat 2006installation dans les jardins du Luxembourg, Paris, FranceGroup
2006Nicolas Ledoux, le deuxième regardConseil général du Doubs, Besançon, FranceGroup
2006Le Sacre du PrintempsGalerie Beckel Odille Boïcos, Paris, FranceGroup
2005New York, paysages urbainsGalerie Beckel-Odille-Boïcos, Paris, FranceSolo
2005Sabbionetacité idéale Palais Rihour, Lille, FranceSolo
2005The Louvre Museum 1993 – 2002Guillaume Gallery, ParisSolo
2005Photographic Territories of Gennevilliers-OstroviecGennevilliersSolo
2005Diana, a Contemporary MythMarly-le-Roi Museum, Marly-le-Roi, FranceSolo
2005Diana, a Contemporary MythVilla Lemot; Loire-Atlantique, FranceSolo
2005New York, paysages urbainsGalerie Beckel Odille Boïcos, ParisSolo
2004MetamorfosisCirculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, SpainSolo
2004Acqua altaGalerria del Leone, Venice, ItalySolo
2003La Métamorphose du LouvreMusée du Louvre, Paris, FranceSolo
2003Polyphoniesabbaye de Royaumont, FranceSolo
2003A Night at the Louvre…Turin Cultural Centre, Maison Française in Bologna, ItalySolo
2003Le paysage ostréicoleCorderie Royale de Rochefort, Brouage, FranceSolo
2002Une nuit au Louvre…Espace Electra, Paris, FranceSolo
2002SingaporeAlliance Française, SingapourSolo
2002Laudate puerichâteau de Chinon, Chinon, FranceSolo
2002Casablanca, une villehôtel Scribe, Paris, FranceSolo
2002Le paysage ostréicolechâteau d'Oléron, abbaye aux Dames de SaintesSolo
2002Sous le voile d’Issymusée Français de la carte à jouer, Issy-les-Moulineaux, FranceSolo
2002Shared territories, the Metropolitan ArchipelagoPavillon de l'Arsenal, Paris, FranceGroup
2001Mont AthosBibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, FranceSolo
2001L'eau est grandeartothèque d'Angers, FranceSolo
2001Sabbioneta, citée idéaleInstitut Culturel Italien, Paris, FranceSolo
2001Sabbioneta, citée idéaleLion gallery (at the fifth biannual of Architecture in Venice with the support of the l'A.F.A.A.), ItalySolo
2001Casablanca, a PortInstitut Français de Casablanca, Casablanca, MorrocoSolo
2001Places of ProstitutionInstitut Français de Surabaya, IndonesiaSolo
2001Urbanism and the strategy of photographyCentre d'art Marres, Maastricht, NetherlandsGroup
2000Europeans in ParisParis City Hall, Paris, FranceGroup
1999Sabbioneta, the ideal cityDucal Palace, Sabbioneta, ItalySolo
1999The Metamorphosis of the LouvreInstitut Français de Casablanca, MoroccoSolo
1999150 years of the Monastery of Saint Andrew in Mount AthosInstitut Français de Thessalonique, GreeceGroup
1999Brittany in the collection of the Imageriel'Imagerie, Lannion, France Group
1999Figures du LittoralEspace Malraux, Chambéry ; Musée Faure, Aix-les-Bains, FranceGroup
1999Nature and Sculpturegalerie Yoshii, Paris, FranceGroup
1999A l'identiqueMaison du Nord-Pas de Calais, Paris, FranceGroup
1999Archives des lointainsMusée de l’histoire vivante, Montreuil, FranceGroup
1998Cities of Europecultural and linguistic centres of Surabaya, of Yogyakarta, and of Bandung, IndonesiaSolo
1998The Spirit of Place, installationthe abbey of Beauport - Côtes d'Armor, FranceSolo
1998The Route of Santiago de CompostellaChroniques nomades, HonfleurSolo
1998Ex libris, Three Points of View on the Great Move of the Bibliothèque NationaleGalerie Colbert, Paris, FranceGroup
1998Paris under the LensAosta, Italy, Kyoto, Japan, Beirut, LebanonGroup
1998Cultes intimesRencontres Internationales de la photographie, Arles, FranceGroup
1998Instants paysagersC.A.U.E. 92, galerie du Petit Château, Sceaux, FranceGroup
1998A Photography Conversation with...Espace Jean Legendre, Compiègne, FranceGroup
1997The Louvre19ème Estivales Photographiques du Trégor, Lannion, FranceSolo
1997The Eye of the Architectgalerie du Square Louvois, Paris, FranceSolo
1997A l'identiqueArchives départementales du Pas-de-Calais, Arras, FranceGroup
1996Sahel, CappadocciaChâteau de La Roche Guyon, Val d'Oise, FranceSolo
1996Escale du regardEspace Electra, Paris, FranceGroup
1995The LouvreAlliances Françaises Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Croatia, Canada; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Washington, New OrleansSolo
1995Escale du regardVilla MédicisGroup
1994RomePassage de Retz, Paris, FranceSolo
1994The LouvreCultural Centre of Turin ; Alliances Françaises of Bologna, Aosta, Genoa, Salerno, Palermo, Florence ; Lion Gallery, Venice, ItalySolo
1994Contemporary Photography in the Collections of the City of ParisParis, FranceGroup
1994New Acquisitions : a ChoiceMusée d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, FranceGroup
1993Les Telluriquesgalerie Édouard Manet, Gennevilliers, FranceSolo
1993Sahel, Cappadociagalerie Le Parvis, Paris, FranceSolo
1993Sahel, CappadociaAlliances Françaises of Bologna, Bari and Aosta, ItalySolo
1992European Kodak PanoramaR.I.P., Arles, FranceGroup
1992Towards a Photographic Attitudegalerie de la Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Paris, FranceGroup
1992Acquisitions 92Artothèque de Nantes FranceGroup
1991Jean-Christophe BallotEspace Confluence, Paris, FranceSolo
1991RomeVilla Médicis ; DRAC des Pays de Loire, FranceGroup
1990Jean-Christophe BallotGalerie des Beaux-Arts, ParisSolo
1989NigerBateau Lavoir, Paris, FranceSolo
1989Under ThirtyPalais de Tokyo, Paris, FranceGroup
1988Berlinl'Entrepôt, Paris, FranceSolo
1988Deuxième biennale internationale de la photographieMishkan Le'Omanut Museum of Art, IsraelGroup
1987Prix Air France - ville de ParisEspace Photo de Paris, Paris, FranceGroup