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Frank Horvat, photographer of looks and desires
 | Local Business News

Frank Horvat, photographer of looks and desires

“A photo does not only say what its author would like, but also what he says without meaning it”, wrote Frank Horvat. In fact, his images presented by the Tennis court, this summer, at the Château de Tours, say better than words the obsessions of this photographer.

All his life, Frank Horvat showed the world as a complex ballet of looks and desires, where women would occupy the foreground, capturing the ambiguous exchanges between the two sexes in images tinged with melancholy. “In his work, the idea of ​​women watched by men and of voyeurism comes up regularly”confirms Virginie Chardin, curator of the rich exhibition.

This singular artist, who died in 2020 at the age of 92, remains unknown despite the influence he had in France in the 1950s. It must be said that this “permanent outsider”, in his own words, who never stopped experimenting and revisiting his work, was able to confuse at the end of his life by multiplying projects in all directions, with more or less success. Virginie Chardin explored the archives with the help of the photographer’s daughter, Fiammetta Horvat, to focus on the richest years of her career, 1950-1965, centered on her work as a reporter and fashion photographer; 170 prints, most from the period, and 70 documents trace the contours of a powerful and innovative work.

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The beginnings of Frank Horvat, born Francesco Horvat in 1928 into a Jewish family in Italy, were marked by reporting: the young man dreamed of joining the Magnum agency, in the footsteps of Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908- 2004). A long trip to India and Pakistan earned him publications in Epoca, an Italian magazine copied from Life. Already, Frank Horvat is interested in forbidden or secret places, where women’s bodies are revealed, such as the “red light district” of the Pakistani city of Lahore, or in wedding ceremonies where spouses discover each other for the first time.

Frank Horvat, photographer of looks and desires
 | Local Business News

But it was in Paris, and in particular in his work for the magazine Realities, that he really refines his style: contrasting black and white photos, a dark atmosphere from which emerge the luminous figures of women, whether they are prostitutes who walk in the Parisian nights, or employees of the Sphinx, a cabaret of striptease. In this last report, his complicity with the dancers is obvious: Horvat makes them haughty and fascinating creatures, who remain the mistresses of the game, in the midst of dull, even pathetic male spectators. At the time, the photographer who wanted to have his hands on his work, suggested his own layouts to magazines and sent them his photos already printed, with their captions.

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