"The place we live" by Robert Adams; "Newsreel - The News Is Ours" by Nika Autor; "The Crossing" by Mathieu Pernot. A longstanding relationship between man and nature, a collective work, as well as material compiled from an art and research platform, along with a new kind of installation, which aims to encourage dialogue between the many images and objects.
The place we live
Robert Adams was born in Orange (New Jersey) in 1937 and grew up first in Wisconsin, then Colorado, where he lived for over three decades before moving to Oregon. Since the mid-1960s, Adams has been considered one of the most important and influential chroniclers of the American West. The exhibition “Robert Adams: The Place We Live“ reflects Adams’ longstanding interest in tragic relationship between man and nature and his quest to find redeeming light and beauty in a deteriorating landscape. His photographs are distinguished not only by their economy and lucidity, but also by their mixture of grief and hope. With more than two hundred and fifty pictures chosen from twenty–one distinct series, this retrospective presents for the very first time the diverse aspects of his epic body of work. Edited and sequenced with input from the photographer himself, the exhibition offers not only an intimate and coherent narrative of the development of the Western United States in the late 20th and early 21st century, but also a challenging view of the complexity and contradictions of our contemporary, global society.
In his work, Robert Adams shows how the grand landscapes of the American West, documented in the 19th century by such photographers as Timothy O’Sullivan and William Henry Jackson, have been altered by human activity. Adams has attempted to remain apparently neutral in his approach; even the titles of his works convey a documentary feel. Above all, Adams renowned for his nuanced and austere photos of urban development in the state of Colorado at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s: images that came to the public eye for the first time in the groundbreaking book, The New West (1974). In 1975, Adams’ work was included in the influential “New Topographics” exhibition.
Each of Roberts Adams’ major projects is present in the exhibition, from his first images of quiet buildings and monuments erected by the early settlers of his native Colorado, to his most recent photos of forests and migratory birds in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to The New West, other major projects featured in the exhibition are: From the Missouri West, a series of distant views of majestic landscapes that evidence the hand of man; Our Lives and Our Children, disarmingly tender portraits of ordinary people going about their everyday business in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; Los Angeles Spring, the portrayal of a former luxuriant garden of Eden that has suffered from violence and pollution; Listening to the River, fragmented, lyrical views of rural and suburban locations in Colorado which evoke the sensory pleasures of walking; and West from the Columbia and Turning Back, two series devoted to documenting what remains of the region’s natural heritage to the Pacific Northwest, where Adams now lives.
Through his work, Adams puts forward a compelling case in defense of a humanist approach to photography, as well as an exhortation to his fellow man to consider what is being done to our collective habitat. His remarkable pictures are often underestimated and yet they never oversimplify their subjects. Whether banal or glorious, his images accurately portray the complexity and the contradictions of modern life. Taken as a whole, the photographs in this exhibition highlight the photographer’s commitment to present the wealth of beauty in our natural surroundings and to underscore our obligation as citizens to protect our environment, not only in the American West, but in the broader world.
The small size of his exacting, handmade prints (many of which are as small as 15x15 cm) reward close looking by visitors, even an intimate, contemplative involvement. Viewers will be guided through the exhibition by short texts taken from the photographer’s writings. Indeed it is through Adams’ publications – over forty monographs in all – that his body of work has exerted the greatest influence. The creation of these volumes have been an indispensable component of his artistic practice. A selection of Robert Adams’ books will be on display during the exhibition and can be consulted by visitors to the exhibition at reading tables, providing the ideal opportunity to fully appreciate Adams’ masterly use of the photographic book as a poetic medium in its own right.
Exhibition and publications organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, in collaboration with Jeu de Paume for the presentation in Paris.
Curators: Joshua Chuang, Associate Curator of Photography and Digital Media, and Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director, both of the Yale University Art Gallery.
Made possible by Yale alumni and friends: Helen D. Buchanan; Allan K. Chasanoff; Lara Rubin Constable and The Reed Foundation; Nathaniel W. Gibbons; Betsy and Frank Karel; Saundra B. Lane; Caro MacDonald and Mark McCain/Eye and I; Melanie and Rick Mayer and the MFUNd; Mr. and Mrs. Alexander K. McLanahan; Ms. Eliot Nolen and Mr. Timothy P. Bradley; Risher Randall, Sr.; the Shamos Family Foundation; Mary Jo and Ted P. Shen; Jane P. Watkins; the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund; and an endowment created with a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The acquisition of Robert Adams’s master prints was made possible through a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund.
In partnership with A Nous, Time Out, L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, LCI and Fip.
Nika Autor. Newsreel – The News Is Ours
Satellite Programme 7
Implicit in Nika Autor’s approach is the impossibility of divorcing objective knowledge from embodied location. She also explores the potential for affect to provide transformative ways of knowing about specific historically crucial events in the former Yugoslavia during three periods: the 1940s, the late 1980s and in 2012.
With her collaborators, Nika Autor decided to revive the newsreel form – which in the view of Ciril Oberstar has proved to be an “exceptionally resilient film form” – as a way of continuing to explore the political engagement of the contemporary artist. Oberstar sees newsreels as “one of the main vehicles for class and social struggles due to their openness and accessibility to political intervention and political propaganda. Paradoxically, it is precisely the ‘extra-filmic’ reality of social struggles that constantly revolutionises the newsreel and keeps it alive.”
The title “Newsreel – The News Is Ours” is a paraphrase of two renowned film works: Finally Got the News, an American newsreel produced in 1970 by the Newsreel collective about the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, a movement in the Detroit car industry, and La vie est à nous (1936), an early French newsreel, commissioned by the French Communist Party, revealing what working class people felt about the social conditions of the time. Both newsreels used “montage” to prompt viewers to think critically about the existing social reality in which they found themselves. Like both of these historical newsreels, the works in the exhibition also explore the intertwining of image and social engagement within the cinematic apparatus, and the dialectics of montage and thought. Historically, the newsreel form was used as a psychological propaganda weapon, but it is now understood as a research and propaganda tool.
The exhibition presents the latest newsreel, Newsreel 55, a collective work by Nika Autor, Marko Bratina, Ciril Oberstar and Jurij Meden, as well as material compiled from the visual research material collected by Obzorniška Fronta (Newsreel Front), an art and research platform that was set up earlier this year and whose main focus is the serial production of newsreels. The talk organised to coincide with the exhibition will provide a contextual element. It will feature series of screenings, commentaries and dialogues in which Slovenian critics, theoreticians and artists will present the heterogeneous and complex history of the Yugoslav newsreel output and two contemporary Slovenian newsreels produced by Obzorniška Fronta.
Through particular stories and topics developed by Obzorniška Fronta (the history and economic dynamics of the former Yugoslavia, Maribor – the city of industrialisation/deindustrialisation, the 1990s war period, the question of class struggle today, illegal/resistance movement, etc.) and the specificity of the themes under examination, “Newsreel – The News Is Ours” will attempt to highlight a certain generality and universality that are always evident in the sphere of capitalist production.
Newsreel 55 is a compilation of quotations, archival footage and footage of current events relating to the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with a special focus on Maribor, the former country’s third-largest industrial centre. It explores questions that relate to the social and political shifts of the 20th century that have shaped the city’s economic, political and social dynamics; a city of occupation, a city of industrialisation and deindustrialisation, and a city marked by the disintegration of the state. These periods are presented through the eyes of the generation that grew up during the transition between two systems, when it could only watch in silence the rise of capitalism in its most ominous aspects. How can images be used today, and what political impact and power do they have. What issues do they raise with regard to the class struggle of today?
Newsreel 55 is a collective work by Nika Autor, Marko Bratina, Jurij Meden and Ciril Oberstar.
Marko Bratina is a philosopher and translator who lives and works in Ljubljana.
Jurij Meden is a filmmaker, director of programming at the Slovenian Cinematheque in Ljubljana, and founder of the magazine KINO! devoted to film theory, politics and poetry.
Ciril Oberstar has a masters in philosophy and is an editor at the Slovenian cultural magazine Dialogi. He lives and works in Ljubljana.
Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, independent curator
The Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques contributes to the production of works in the Satellite program.
This exhibition is organised with the help of the Ambassade de République de Slovénie en France.
The Jeu de Paume is a member of the Tram and d.c.a networks, association française de développement des centres d’art.
Mathieu Pernot was born in Fréjus in 1970 and he currently lives and works in Paris. After studying art history at the University of Grenoble, he enrolled at the École Nationale de la Photographie in Arles, from where he graduated in 1996. He specialises in documentary work, but offers a new take on the codes of this photographic genre and explores alternative paths to develop a multi-voiced narrative. Mathieu Pernot’s work is either organised into series – sometimes linked by their choice of characters, chronology or theme – or by his encounter with archive images. In either case, his nomadic approach to photography and choice of subject underline a desire to avoid a uniform and unidirectional narrative. His images in perpetual movement evoke a reality that is far from being fixed and unchanging.
The exhibition at the Jeu de Paume presents a selection of Mathieu Pernot’s series from the last twenty years. It inaugurates a new kind of installation, which aims to encourage dialogue between the many images and objects and takes the visitor on a journey through his body of work ending at up Le Feu, his latest piece which was produced especially for the exhibition.
Whether through his own photographic work or the use of different archive photos and documents, Mathieu Pernot questions the diversity of means of representation and the very notion of how we make use of the photographic medium.
An underlying sense of movement, of passing through or crossing over is omnipresent in his work and a recurrent element of this exhibition at the Jeu de Paume. It is embodied both in the fragile and nomadic nature of the characters his photos portray – gypsies, migrants, etc. – and the repeated presence of these same individuals throughout his entire body of work, transforming them into the characters of stories criss-crossing the passing of time.
“The Crossing“ is the concrete expression of a modern-day narrative with characters who live on the margins of the very society whose story it tells. It represents a transversal and multiform approach to the medium of photography, which is put to the test of its function and its history.
The exhibition starts with Photo Booths, Mathieu Pernot’s first series of photos, taken between 1995 and 1997, of gypsy children in Arles, ending with their portraits taken some seventeen years later, in 2013, for this exhibition. The 2001 series The Shouters, which will form the core of the exhibition, was taken between these two series and features the same characters. The exhibition also presents works dealing with the issue of human migration (The Migrants, Giovanni, The Afghan Notebooks), town planning (Le Grand Ensemble including Implosions, The Best of All Worlds, Witnesses, Windows) and incarceration (A Bohemian Camp and Panoptic), together with an installation (Le Dortoir) and drawings (The Last Journey) that echo his photographs.
In Fire, a project created especially for the exhibition, the photographer portrays a Romany custom in which, following a death, the deceased’s caravan is burnt. As the caravan burned, he photographed people (faces we recognise from other photos in the exhibition at other moments in their lives) their faces lit by the light of the flames.
The artist and Marta Gili
Exhibition produced by the Jeu de Paume
In partnership with A Nous, L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, ParisArt, Souvenirs From Earth TV and Time Out Paris
Image: Robert Adams, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1968. Épreuve gélatino-argentique, 15 x 15 cm. Yale University Art Gallery, acquisition grâce à un don de Saundra B. Lane, une subvention du Trellis Fund et du Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund. © Robert Adams. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco et Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
Annabelle Floriant Tel: +33 (0)1 47031322 / 0642530407 email@example.com
Jeu de Paume
Place de la Concorde 1, Paris
Opening hours: Tuesday 11am – 9pm, Wednesday - Sunday 11am – 7pm, Closed Monday, including public holidays.
Admission: 8.5€ and 5.5€