For eight weeks, Lily Gavin was invited to photograph the filming and behind the scenes of the biopic on Vincent van Gogh, directed by Julian Schnabel. At Eternity’s Gate, nominated for the 2019 Oscars, retraces van Gogh’s life and particularly his Provençal period.
After participating in the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles in 2018, Lily Gavin is exhibiting around twenty photos at the Castle of Les Baux-de-Provence this summer. Her gelatin silver photographs take the viewer right into the heart of the artist’s life and times. A selection of large format photographs exhibited in the bright sunlight of Provence—which left a lasting mark on van Gogh—, which echoes ‘Van Gogh: Starry Night’, a new immersive experience in the Carrières de Lumières.
Lily Gavin is a young Franco-American artist. Aged just twenty-three, she is a graduate of Bard College in New York state. The photos presented in the exhibition are the fruit of a photographic reportage about the shooting of the film in Provence and Paris, which she produced in 2017. Armed with her camera, she immortalised the scenes in the film, and also the landscapes, costumes, accessories, and film shooting locations.
The photographs conceal any contemporary elements that might betray the fact that they were taken during the shooting of the film—there are no cameras or cables in the photos—and reveal through subtle interplays of light and shadow the artist’s tormented soul and the incredible originality of his masterful brushstrokes.
Willem Dafoe, who plays van Gogh, appears in many photos in the role of the dreamy and obsessed artist. Reality appears to merge with fiction: film actors, playing historical figures, become the real protagonists of this fictional photo reportage.