Alexis de Vilar, author, photographer, and explorer.
His perfectly composed images immerse us in a sweetness of life… Paradoxically, Alexis de Vilar, while removing himself from current fashions, produces contemporary photographs, with soul, a timeless soul! How can we not hear the music he clearly loves when he uses titles like « Asia song », « Swahili song », « African song » ?
Alexis likes women and he doesn’t try to hide it. But he only portrays them as sublime, perfect. You see them but you don’t hear them. The children, the vahinés, the men that surround them live in the Paradise that these photographs offer us. But obviously, Alexis also likes to photograph men. With a very different feeling from the one he shows for women, he portrays them in their pride, in sculptural grandeur! He also shows a penchant for what are called primitive worlds. Tribes on the verge of disappearing or already vanished. Women, men, elders, children, wild animals … a wealth of icons!
Alexis de Vilar is not documenting. He is proposing his vision of Paradise as sole resident, before transporting us there. The difficulty I find in giving Alexis’s photographs their full value lies in their distance from what our institutions so shamelessly value. These institutions are just as pleased to produce grandiose retrospectives of bygone photographers as they seem reluctant to show the essence of photography, it’s permanence in a timeless classicism.
…it is reassuring to find a photographer like Alexis de Vilar who makes us share his dream. This Paradise would be truly lost if his photographs weren’t the finest way to make it our heritage. When some have been searching for times past, Alexis de Vilar offers us his Paradise and secures it for times to come!
Alexis de Vilar is a traveller in the best sense of the word. Following in the footsteps of the painter Paul Gauguin, another exile from his own time and society, and with whom he shares, moreover, an admiration for the female beauty, Alexis de Vilar offers a view of life that reflects other dimensions and other parameters. There’s no doubt that as an author, he is cursed with all the anguish that that entails – not only in a literary context but also in the context of his photographic work, although the latter has become extraordinarily valued by collectors. But like Gauguin, Alexis de Vilar’s work brings us a special light, a glow. His one way voyage implies a painful path, from the initial process towards direct experience, the only way that allows an understanding of civilizations and cultures so removed from our own. I don’t think I’m mistaken in saying that, in his madness, Alexis de Vilar means to stop time, and thereby, oh what a challenge, to trump eternity.
Jaume Soler i de Magriña Historien de l’art. Membre de l’équipe technique du Musée National d’Art Catalan de Barcelone (MNAC).