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The desert

Fondation Cartier, Paris

comunicato stampa

Confronting 19th century images with contemporary experiences of the desert and of space, the exhibition the desert is essentially organised around a group of photographs and films, for the most part new works and special commissions.
Performing a leap in time, from adventurer-photographers of the 19th century to contemporary artists, this exhibition is distinguished by a chronological or panoramic vision and reveals the desert as landscape, as degree zero and the very essence of landscape.
Offering the image of a place that appears to be unaffected by time, and from before Time, a landscape from the beginning of the world, the desert is fundamentally bound to creation.

In an extraordinary coincidence, 19th century Europe discovered the desert, through the experience of the great travellers, scientific missions organised for archaeological or geographical purposes, the development and the taste for Egyptology, simultaneous with the invention of photography. The latter introduced the image of the desert to Europe; solitary travellers or members of scientific expeditions, artists and photographers embarked on the depiction of the desert as a territory to explore and as a landscape. The desert revealed to Europe the idea of a vast expanse, of immensity. It was the unfolding concept of space itself. Looking at a series of unpublished photographs by pioneers of the genre, such as Maxime du Camp, John B. Greene, Félix Teynard, Emile Fréchon, Francis Frith, and artists from the first few decades of the 20th century, like Lehnert & Landrock or Edward Weston, the images of veiled women by Gaétan Gatian de Clérambault, with their undulating white robes, provide a metaphorical counterpoint to the landscapes of dunes, furrowed by the wind.

Emphasising the duality of the desert as a place of contrasts, both fascinating and hostile, formed of stability and movement, simultaneously " desert distress, desert tenderness " to quote Raymond Depardon, the exhibition will compare at this historic moment some contemporary experiences of the desert regions. Through works like those of Michael Ashkin, who endeavours to represent the immensity of the desert in his enormous models, these ideas appear as reflections on space, on the experience of a new space, at an age when the limits of space are continually pushed out, to the point of disappearing, of vanishing altogether.
With a few special orders, the Fondation Cartier has invited several artists, such as Raymond Depardon with Titouan Lamazou, or Lee Friedlander, to travel and to extend their experience of the desert.

A place full of light, where the horizon vanishes, where any visual reference is missing, the desert is also a place to explore the limits of the image, through the tricks of perception known as mirages, thermal manipulations of reality that make imaginary landscapes appear. Bill Viola's film shot in the Chott El Djerid is a response to Dali's pictorial vision of mirages, or the characters of Hergé. Altering our sense of space, turning our understanding of dimensions and of the scale of things upside down, questioning the very notion of perspective, the desert also transforms all perception of time.

A place of individual experience, the desert is also a place to come face to face with oneself. Beyond any metaphysical aspect, this exploration of one's own limits has a spiritual resonance. The Desert exhibition will thus be an opportunity to pay tribute to Wilfred Thesiger, adventurer, explorer, humanist and author of Desert of deserts - the 20th century masterpiece of the genre - through a collection of unpublished photographs.

Thus, organised around a series of works that evoke the desert as landscape, this exhibition will address, in particular, the way in which photography, since its invention, has portrayed the desert, and how the cinema, backed up by video, shows it. With this collection of photographs and films, the exhibition will come alive and open up different concepts of space.

Old photography
Arnoux, Antonio Beato, Félix Bonfils, Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault, Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, Charles de Foucauld, Émile Fréchon, Francis Frith, John B. Greene, Jules Imbert, Lehnert & Landrock, José Ortiz-Echagüe, J. Pascal Sebah, Félix Teynard, Sir Wilfred Thesiger, Zangaki

Modern and contemporary works
Hergé, Michael Light, Walter De Maria, Antoine de Saint-Éxupéry, Bill Viola

Works Commissioned by the Fondation Cartier
Lara Baladi, Balthasar Burkhard, Raymond Depardon, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Yervant Gianikian et Angela Ricci Lucchi, Titouan Lamazou, Andrei Ujica (montage made from images by Pier Paolo Pasolini), Beat Streuli

Opening for the press June 20, 2000
Visitors' information, tel. 33 1 42 18 56 51

Every day, except Monday, from 12 am to 8 pm
Entrance fee: 30frs
Reduced rate: 20 frs (students, under 25s, old-age pensioners and Amis des Musées card-holders)
Free admission (not including Nomadic Nights): Circle of Friends, under 10s, ICOMs and the unemployed

Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain
261, boulevard Raspail
75014 Paris
Metro : Raspail or Denfert-Rochereau
Bus : 38, 68, 91;
RER : Denfert-Rochereau
Telephone : 33 1 42 18 56 51
Facsimile : 33 1 42 18 56 52

Opening hours
The Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain is open to the public every day except Mondays, from 12 am to 8 pm.
Entrance fee : 30 frs. Reduced rate : 20 frs (students, under 25s, old-age pensioners and Amis des Musées card-holders) Free admission (not including Nomadic Nights) : under 10s, ICOMs and the unemployed.

Group visits
By appointment only
Guided visits round the exhibitions daily
Information : 33 1 42 18 56 67

Press Information
Linda Chenit
Tel. 01 42 18 56 77
Fax. 01 42 18 56 52

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dal 10/7/2015 al 14/11/2015

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