Johanna Benaïnous (1991) and Elsa Parra (1990) are a duo of visual artists, photographers and directors. In 2016, they were noticed at Salon de Montrouge, ended up finalists of the HSBC Photography Award, and were nominated for the Révélations Emerige grant.
They met at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and received together the congratulations of the jury at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2015. They were guest artists at the Festival Circulation(s) 2017 and Festival Photo Saint Germain 2017. They won the 2nd Picto Fashion Award 2017, and got into the collections of Palais Galliera (Fashion Museum of Paris). In 2017, Galerie La Forest Divonne presents them for the first time in the Brussels space for the exhibition Kaléidoscope. In 2018, the FMAC (Paris Contemporary Art Municipal Fund) acquired the whole set of 88 portrait of the series A Couple of Them, made between 2014 and 2016. 36 of them are exhibited on the FMACbooth at FIAC 2018.
Galerie La Forest Divonne — Paris organizes the first solo exhibition of Elsa and Johanna (Johanna Benaïnous and Elsa Parra) on the occasion of the Photo Saint — Germain 2018 Festival. The exhibition will be articulated around two series of images, a part of A Couple of Them, and a new unpublished series, Calgary, produced in 2018 in Canada, exploring both portrait and identity.
For the series A Couple of Them, the two artists slip into the skin of characters observed in the street or coming from their imagination through common urban explorations. A whole set of touching characters, true to life, oddly familiar : the album of a generation, in a way.
The exhibition will confront these portraits with a new series of more intimate images. While the portraits of A couple of them are mostly seized in the street or in public spaces, according to an objective shooting protocol, the unpublished Calgary series penetrates the intimacy of its subjects photographing them in their interiors, in more personal situations. The shots are less fixed, more varied in their frames, illustrating a more subjective point of view, sheltered behind the walls of houses and individual apartments. These new images continue and develop the artistic research initiated by the two photographers in 2014. Again, Elsa and Johanna play all characters, in this troubling photo album where the same faces lend their features to such different individuals — making the universal and the particular meet.