Sublime Napoli

Florian Villain

An extraordinary photographic journey in the city of Naples, Italy. Includes a conversation between photography and sociology thanks to the gaze cross between Florian Villain, French sociologist and philosopher, and Jean Luc Dubin, French plastic artist.
Date Published :
August 2022
Publisher :
Editions Hemeria
Contributor(s) :
Jean Luc Dubin
Illustration :
65 B&W photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9782490952045
Pages : 128
Dimensions : 8 X 11 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Fascinated by the primitive beauty of reality, French photographer Jean Luc Dubin apprehends the social world without interpretation or spirituality, guided by what Florian Villain calls "a gaze without a glance". Human behavior in all its materiality is an inexhaustible source of poetry for the photographer. In Naples as in New York, his street photos are shaped like a social precipitate, triggered by the magical moment of the click. Beyond the social world, Jean Luc Dubin also tackles received ideas about human nature, which is akin to a standardized construction. As the starting point of his friendship with Florian Villain, his photos affirm that he there are as many humanities as there are possibilities. And if the beautiful can afford to be weird, sometimes transmuting into extreme beauty, it is good because it is revealed by the singular gaze of a photographer. In Naples, his street photos form like a social precipitate, triggered by the magic moment of the click. As such, the series on Naples includes several bones and vanities attached to the “ritual of wandering souls“, which consists in honoring the skull of the dead in order to soften their arrival in the afterlife and offer them recognition and dignity.

In the heart of the Neapolitan cellars, women have perpetuated this tradition for centuries. Jean Luc Dubin took an interest in these practices at the same time as Florian Villain, who found in the photographs of his friend, a resonance to the thesis that he would expose some time later, in the review of Mauss. In its history, Naples has overcome constant tragedies and threats that have permanently shaped the behavior of its inhabitants. Regularly under foreign domination, the city experienced invasions, epidemics and deadly eruptions without ever losing its identity. Florian Villain explains that Naples was built on appearances to protect its culture, recalling that its streets are "like a theatre scene". According to the sociologist, we cannot penetrate the Neapolitans today without looking elsewhere than what they deign to show us; Jean Luc Dubin, however, manages to detect what survives under the mask.

About The Author

Born in 1949, Jean Luc Dubin lives and works near Paris, France. After commercial studies, he chose to devote himself to photography, a passion of childhood: from the age of 11, during a summer camp, he discovered the power of the image. His work is eclectic and includes portraits of classical and jazz musicians (for Deutch Gramophon, Verve), a residency at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, and lots of travel before elaborating on powerful themes. His first exhibitions in the 1970s and 1980s include 'Les Gens de Prague' in 1973 Paris, then in 1980 'New-York City', in 1982 'Saint-Louis, Missouri', in 1983 'Le Peuple Sarahoul'. In 1987, the Musée des Beaux Arts de Chartres hosted his work 'Visite des Images de la Cathédrale', large black and white prints on palisades, installations of objects abandoned by tourists, and an ambulatory of images on the ground…
In 1992 and 1995, he participated in two major exhibitions of the Musée de l’Homme, 'Tous parents, Tous Différentes' and 'Six milliards d’hommes'. From 1996 to 1999, he worked at the CMP in Montreuil with children aged five to eight with behavioral problems. In 1995, he was invited to residency in Tangier (Fondation Lorin) with 'Portraits de mois avec Bébé'. Then in Fez in 1997, he built 'L’Arbre à Famille' with the sculptor Jocelyne Bouquin.
In 2003, his 'Mariannes de La République' dressed the columns of the French National Assembly. In 2004, he participated in a group exhibition at the Galerie Herschtritt in Paris. In 2005, his 'Le Piège à reflets' was a creation that emerges from two successive residencies at the Cultural Centre of Cotonou in Benin, exhibited at the Lhomond Foundation in Paris and at the French Cultural Centre in Cotonou. In 2011, this installation was shown in Provins, plus 'Fictions Vaudoues', which was exhibited at the Galerie Iconoclastes under the name 'Fictions Vaudoues, nature mortes argentiques et installation'. In 2013, he was invited to the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Tlemcen and Oran and organized workshops with young Algerian photographers.
In 2016, he released '1978, New York', with a text by Peter Wortsman, which traces the photographic work he had undertaken in New York in 1978. Also in 2016, he initiated an artistic mediation to talk about the special relationship between Algeria and France, with the scientific support of Professor André Langaney, geneticist of the populations. It is then that he createed 'Mélangeons-nous', a project of artistic and playful encounters, which tries to pose images and words on the question of living together.
Since 2012, he has led therapeutic workshops in three departments of the Ville-Évrard psychiatric hospital (near Paris, France), with the desire to offer patients the opportunity to use photography to enhance their self-esteem and to open up to others.

Florian Villain is a teacher-researcher, philosopher, and sociologist.

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