KVT – Angels in L’Espace

KVT – Angels in L’Espace

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KVT gets into immaculata

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Before I get into an angelically inspired mood about Jean-Paul Lefret’s glossily mounted photographs at L’Espace, I’ll digress:

Most modern  things that have angel in their title make me feel like puking at the prospect of their saccharine content but very occasionally an angel thing comes along that makes me feel like spreading my wings and soaring.

In 2000 I was totally immersed in ‘The Angel Project’ during which individuals undertook a solitary journey around the city most of them called home and interacted with angels, or the residue of angels as described here during its 2004 performance in New York and below in a few images.

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It remains one of the most powerful art installations cum performance art cum theatrical experiences I’ve had and I still shiver at the memory of it. One vivid part was in a grimy, narrow, slimy alley stacked with overflowing garbage cans where at the end was a tattered, demented angel staring crazily at you and shaking the thick bars of its cage if you came too close.

I approached French artist Lefet’s angels hanging around the walls at L’Espace with a degree of skepticism that was soon replaced by awe.

Lefret, born 1957, has photographed his angels, all youthful females, in a variety of urban environments that could be said to bespeak of the condition of the modern urban soul

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His images are predominantly inspired by Catholic iconography though the burka-ed angel standing in front of a pulsatingly pointy KL landscape is a moving comment about the subjugation of women and the burdens that women have been forced to carry ever since their archetype dared to lure man into carnal sin (which could be stated to be a sub theme of his angelic work)

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The heart, one could suppose, represents the immaculate heart of the Virgin Mary which is often depicted as being encircled with thorns that pierce it to represent its outrage at the sins of humanity and sometimes, as in these photographs, as a metaphoric icon that also radiates purity and love. I was reminded of the appearance of Mary to the 3 shepherd kids in Fatima, Portugal, in 1912 when her external, immaculate heart showed them the sights and sounds of demonic hell. In Lefret’s photograph [phs it could be suggested that his modern, virgin, immaculata are doing the same…some of whom can be viewed in all their virginal allure here with a few below.

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Lefret has been working on the series since about 2007 and his angels are from various locales that he has visited in his travels and are posed in iconic renaissance, religious style. Often all that is missing are the naked little putti making themselves useful by staring at the virgin in adoration or being a little mischievous …which was and is the duty of adorable little boys whereas adorable girls were left out of the scene unless they were adorably virginal or dutiful or, conversely, representative of original sin and lust.

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It’s an engrossing exhibition and one that makes a lot of space for those viewers who have a philosophical or humanitarian mindset….and don’t be put off by my opinionated take on the angelic work though most of you will probably enjoy it as thoroughly as I did, and will do again.

This June seems to be a major month in the cultural scene with loads of excellent art, dance and music from afar being enticingly dangled in front of us.

Lefret’s L’Espace exhibition is a five star event

Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. Please see our Comment Guidelines / Moderation Policy and add your thoughts in the comment field below.


  1. It’s wonderful! I saw this artist exhibition in Paris, but I’m happy to see 2 news picture. I’ts more beautiful when you see that alive.
    Ar eltte Burgaud

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