The Woman. Immersion
May 16 - July 28, 2019
The Ekaterina Cultural Foundation presents "The Woman. Immersion" - an exhibition of works by the Monegasque photographer Olivier Jude, which offers a glimpse into the unique underwater world of the ocean. This solo show is the latest installment in the Ekaterina Foundation's long-term project of cultural exchange with art institutions of Monaco. In 2004, the Foundation presented the grandiose exhibition of the "Jack of Diamonds" in Monaco. Many collaborations with the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco had its key moment with the "Years of Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco" exhibition that showed in Moscow in the halls of our foundation in 2008. In the collaboration with the New National Museum of Monaco in 2009 was created the exhibition "Surprise Me! Sergey Diaghelev and Russian Ballet Seasons" which was later shown at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. In 2015, the halls of the Foundation hosted an international contemporary art exhibit "On Sharks and Humanity", brought by the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.
Olivier Jude was born in Monaco in 1966. Since he was a little boy, he has been fascinated by the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea, and in 1989 he joined the Underwater Federation of Monaco (FMAS). Initially, Olivier was keen on pure diving and did not think about taking pictures during his underwater adventures. But then he realized that he wanted to share the amazingly underwater beauty with his wife and, by taking pictures of it, encourage her to take up diving too. A while later, Sylvie Laurent became Olivier's diving partner and model while Valerie Jude started to design suits for Sylvie's diving sessions. These suits are one of the keys to the composition and the shot.
The geography of Olivier Jude and Sylvie Laurent's diving explorations is quite wide. They have taken pictures in the Indian Ocean, off the southern coast of the Maldives archipelago, as well as at UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Tubbataha Reef (the Philippines) and the Komodo National Park (Indonesia). They traveled to the Red Sea before returning to the Indian Ocean coasts: the islands Bali (Indonesia) and Sipadan (Malaysia). Back in Monaco, Olivier noticed that the fauna of the Indian Ocean and that of the Red Sea have a lot in common: the same families of fish and animal species dwell there, even if they differ both in size and in color.
Photographs by Olivier Jude can be divided into three categories. The first of those includes the so called Mi-air, Mi-eau images, where you can see both the underwater depths, the shore and the sky, which gives the water a blue color. The second type of Olivier Jude photographs are panoramic shots. This kind of pictures are usually taken at a great depth, contains many details and demonstrates the diversity of marine flora and fauna. Lastly, a third category comprises close-up photographs of fish or animals in their natural habitat. The choice of subject matter for photographs largely depends on visibility conditions and the ability to combine natural light and artificial lighting. Considering rough conditions, each shot is unique and taken at the first attempt, and these photos were neither airbrushed nor edited, all the colors are natural and extremely saturated.
Despite having been to the bottom of the Indian Ocean and having explored different regions of the Mediterranean and Red seas, Olivier Jude and Sylvie Laurent still consider the coastal waters of Monaco to be one of the most attractive places in the world. "Monaco does have its unique sea treasures. I always speak about it and show it on my photos to let all divers, underwater photographers and travelers know that our marine environment is unique and diverse", says Olivier.
Not only do Olivier Jude's photos capture the fascinating underwater beauty, but they also raise our awareness of the necessity to protect the sea environment. The model seen in the pictures reminds us of a man's constant interaction with the underwater world. The photographer argues that a human being is an integral part of this world. Man is both a guest, exploring the diversity of animals and plants, and an active participant, who is capable of changing the underwater landscape.
Olivier Jude and Sylvie Laurent have taken part in numerous contests and photo exhibitions. Currently, Olivier is an active member of the Diving Club of Monaco and an official representative of the Principality of Monaco at international exhibitions of underwater photography. In January 2018, Olivier Jude and Sylvie Laurent took part at the underwater photography competition marking the 20th anniversary of the Paris International Dive Show, where Olivier Jude's "The Woman. Immersion" photo series (shot in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Antibes and at the La Fourmigue lighthouse) claimed third place.
The exhibition is held with the support of His Serene Highness The Prince Albert II of Monaco.
The exhibition is supported by EFG BANK Monaco, the Underwater Federation of Monaco (FMAS), the Diving Club of Monaco (C.E.S.M.M.), HUGYFOT (Belgium), TKM CONSULTING LLC (Moscow), ID-BOX Monaco.