Olympe Tits (Marseille, 1992) is an autodidact photographer, dancer and choreographer residing in Brussels, Belgium.
Olympe started her education to become a professional dancer at the Royal Balletschool of Antwerp at the age of 8 and graduated there at the age of 18.
After those studies she developed as a contemporary dancer at the Royal conservatory for contemporary dance in Antwerp and got her teachers degree after that.
She danced in different dance projects and made her own choreographies that have been presented on different theaterfestivals. As she has always been very interested in making art with different media such as dance, music, writing and video she decided to self taught herself photography at the age of 19.
Her conceptual work has been exhibited in different galleries in Belgium and abroad. In 2016 she won the National Belgium award at the Sony awards in London. In 2017 she ended 2nd on the TV show Master of Photography that has been broadcast on Sky Arts in different countries. There she had the opportunity to work with Martin Parr, Steve McCury,.. and make a portrait of renown actor Clive Owen.
Her work has been published in different magazine and newspapers such as Focus Vif, Shoot, City Zine, De Morgen, New Gup and on different online magazines over the world. She won different awards with her conceptual work.
Beside her conceptual work she makes photographs for theatre and dance compagnies such as dance company Peeping Tom and many others. She's regularly asked to provide the image of a campaign and portraits of actors.
Olympe Tits's photography, opposites complement each other. Contrasting
colors draw figures by marking out areas in space. The soft texture of a skirt winds down on a stone floor. Divergent elements enter into a dialogue caused by contrast. Like opposites, they play a continual game of attraction and repulsion.
We see frail bodies, as well as graceful and slender figures. They often appear in
uncomfortable positions, while simultaneously acquiring a new form. Just like a
dancer seems weightless rather than her jump seems high, these poses tell a
story with the body they seem to have effortlessly adopted. The poses are an
element of a language, rather than an art form in itself. Just like a dancer, these
characters invite you to watch them. In return, they don't look back - the fourth
wall is never broken.
Form and content coincide in Olympe Tits's work, which is an organic result
from her own life experiences. Since childhood, she had always been attracted to
her mother's analogue camera. She portrayed herself amidst flowerpots and
other found items with a digital camera she got her hands on. This resulted in
her first childlike self-portraits.
Later on, Olympe took dance courses, moving on to Belgium's most renown
schools to delve headfirst into the art of dance.
Subsequently, she graduated as a dancer at the conservatory of Antwerp, where
she could expand on her knack for choreography as well.
It was an injury that invited the photographer in Olympe Tits to twist again.
Initially, she documented the dance courses she had to miss, after which she
started shooting the dancers outside of the studio environment as well. Was it
the choreographer or the child in Olympe that was looking for other stagings?
Would it have been the dancer or the player that was searching for poses in a
space? You could definitely say this was not going to be Olympe's last waltz.
The characters in Olympe's photography are always young female dancers. They
seem to be longing for a place they can't get to, reaching for the unattainable. You
can sense a state of before and after in each photo. The movement from back then
to later on is silenced in the now. Even though each character is overwhelmingly
present, it longs to escape this now. At times, it literally accepts the situation.
Often, it becomes entwined in the decor.
At this point, humour finds its way into the pictures as well. The absurd humour
of out-of-control nonsense becomes an image, documented in the never-ending
now. This game of time simultaneously reminds us of the performative aspect,
adhering to a similar logic that plays with the duration of minutes - carrying the
defenseless body inside of it. It paves its way through the course of the
performance, while the audience looks on, relentlessly loving.
With the language they speak, these images tell the story of a character that
remains mysterious, but feels very familiar as well. Even though the character
never looks back, you get to see it in a vulnerable state: the frail body of a dancer,
in an almost ineluctable instant. It's Olympe Tits's language, talking about
herself. The dancer, the choreographer and the photographer are undeniably
contained within each image. This way, the images become self-portraits,
coinciding with themselves.
The world in which these characters reside is filled with bright colors. This
brightness is often reinforced by textures, making each color almost tangible.
This way, the vibrant tones become an important part of this universe. Everyday
spaces are saved from their banality. Materials transform into sensitive lines,
meeting the body, like in a pas-de-deux with their opposites.
The character is there, in that one place. Deafeningly, it silences us.
Text by Katrien Vanderbiest translated by Matthias Meersmans