Simon Schnepp et Morgane Renou

Franco-German duo of architectural photographers, based in Berlin, Paris and Marseille.

There isn’t a photograph by Simon Schnepp and Morgane Renou that doesn’t leave you wondering, that doesn’t intrigue you with the scene it depicts, or the composition chosen. Their love of the simple architectural forms of modernism is obvious, almost always underlined by white skies that let the architecture show off its soft colors and pure volumes, frankly, without cast shadows. Their attraction to the unexpected is captivating - all the more enhanced by a cleverly composed setting. It’s as if the permanent, sturdy and reassuring nature of architecture on the one hand, and the ephemeral and circumstantial character of the event taking place there, on the other, corresponded to two distinct universes, two different temporalities. In the end, it’s not about photographing architecture, but about life and the passage of time, which architecture is a witness of.

Life in Montreal's former Olympic Village is scarce. The site is almost empty. As a result, the eye focuses on the vanishing lines, the brutal geometry of the building. The photographers do everything they can to take it out of context, even sucking the color out of it. We’ll know nothing of Roger Taillibert's Biodome, erected 500 meters away, nor of the neighboring park where city dwellers gather on the weekends. Only a few fir trees give a vague indication of the latitude, as well as providing a potential key to understanding the shape adopted by the buildings: the parallel between their crest lines and those of the pines may have been intended by the architects - it certainly is by the photographers.

Built for the 1976 Summer Games, the four-bar, pyramid-shaped complex designed by Roger D'Astous and Luc Durand uses a vocabulary comparable to that of La Grande Motte in Montpellier and Marina Baie des Anges in Nice, both cities in the South of France. It's as if, after some DNA analysis, we'd just discovered blood relatives in America! Baptized "Grand Hotel" at the time, this building, which seems to have been forgotten in the registries of Canadian architecture, is even less known on our side of the Atlantic. Simon Schnepp and Morgane Renou's work aims to restore it to its rightful place in the history of Brutalist architecture worldwide.

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Exhibitions

Current



Grand Hôtel 1

by Simon Schnepp et Morgane Renou

Photographic print
100 x 70 cm
2024

Grand Hôtel 2

by Simon Schnepp et Morgane Renou

Photographic print
50 x 70 cm
2024