French artist Philippe Ramette’s improbable, gravity-defying poses might look like classic Photoshop, until you notice they are peppered with little incongruities. "You see a tension in my hands, my red face is far from serene as the blood rushes to it, my suit is ruffled."
Ramette goes to extraordinary lengths to create his implausible set-ups, building hidden metal supports that he calls "sculpture-structures". Metal rings tether him by the ankles as he hangs motionless from the Grimaldi Forum building in Monaco, his trousers and tie strapped down and his hair gelled flat to give the impression of being upright. Above a winding road in southern France, a metal seat hidden by his suit juts out from a slab of rock, holding him up.
In Balcony 2, he is standing on a balcony in the middle of Hong Kong harbour, contemplating the sky while seemingly managing to levitate above the water. For the shoot, a watertight tank served as an underwater float for the balcony, put in place by a barge and crane. Ramette then secured his feet on supports, leaned back and clung to the wood. During the initial attempts, he was soaked by waves and had to swim to safety.
For the series Rational Exploration Of The Undersea, he wore lead weights under his suit and around his ankles. When Ramette needed air, a diver would swim over with an oxygen tank, but before shooting his team had to wait for the whipped up sand and bubbles to clear in order to achieve the effect of stillness. "There I was in a suit on the seabed, weighed down and able to walk underwater as if on land, unaffected by the currents. For me, that was a real pleasure," he smiles.
Top: These are two metal supports used to hold a man horizontally or in another position for Ramette’s visual illusions. Below: You can see how the metal support is placed on the tree to hold the artist.
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