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News 9 February / 2016

‘Upstairs’ Portrait Exhibition by Nadjib Le Fleurier

The exhibition starts in the corridor as you pass the front door, carries up on along the stairs, and greets you as you enter the venue, but the focal point is the 7 portraits polyptych on the left wall.

When the possibility of an exhibition of portrait of musicians in the Vortex was initially suggested, it was this huge tall and bare wall which gave me the initial spark for the exhibition’s concept. It reminded of the type of wall in stately home on which hang high up, portraits of the ancestors, providing visitors with a visual history of the family living there.

But since at the Vortex, the community is very much alive, this exhibition’s endeavour is to captures the venue’s spirit as well as its contemporary history through this series of portraits of accomplished, internationally renowned musicians as well as young talented up and coming ones who all performed in there.
“It was at the first incarnation of FREEDOM! The Art Of Improvisation in Hoxton that I became familiar with the photography of Nadjib Le Fleurier. I was blown away. He introduced himself, not as a photographer but a visual artist, and upon seeing his work it was as far away from reportage as could be. He enjoys the dark. Weathered hands hold sharply angled drum sticks; ball bearings roll across the top of a surdo drum, lips press into the mouthpiece of a trumpet. His atmospherically charged images capture the essence of improvisation. They seize the moment and organically connect with the sounds he’s experiencing. Nadjib has a unique cultural background and with that comes a unique sensitvity. Check out his show at the Vortex in Dalston during the Jazz Festival and experience the alternative face of FREEDOM!”
Paul Bradshaw

“Nadjib always manages to capture the depth and the essence of the spirit of his subject.
There is always plenty of character & personality in that moment” Never a throwaway image but instead you have to engage in every image that he produces. I count Nadjib among the best visual artist out there.”
Orphy Robinson (Jazz warriors International, Black Top)

“Paris-born and London-based, Nadjib Le Fleurier is no ordinary music photographer. His intimate, painterly portraits of jazz artists are imbued with a sense of time and place, capturing the communion between instrument and musician, musician and audience, in ways that tell the story of a moment”
Jane Cornwell ( Evening Standard)

“I’ve seen a lot of Nadjib le Fleurier’s photographs of musicians. Strangely, they seem to create pools of silence, even though the pictures are taken in the act of creating music.
Perhaps it’s the stillness in the middle of the players’ intense concentration?
Roy de Carava, whose equally beautiful photos of musicians are very different, seems to capture that as well”
Steve Beresford (October 26 2015,

“Nadjib Le Fleurier’s visual work relating to jazz, improvised music and related forms, tends to look and probe deeper, posing philosophical questions related to musicians’ thought processes, before, during and after the sound production, touching on the psychology of improvisation, and the essential flow required to improvise music freely. Some of his visual compositions capture this . . . time and space. He is searching, for the essence of the music and the improvisation process, and is currently exploring these concepts further, with his interactive art installation piece, Al’Batin.”
Kevin Davy (

“I have been admiring Nadjib’s work for a number of years now. He has a magical way of capturing
a special musical moment and preserving the performers deep expression and the ambiance of the
experience. His artistry has a unique touch.”
Rowland Sutherland (Flautist, Composer, Bandleader and Educator)


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