Contacts and Chimeras. The exhibition includes not only works from the donation but also series bringing up to date our knowledge of a photographic career spanning more than thirty years. Thus the retrospective is organized around fifteen topics chosen by the artist and representing his idees fixes, both formal and thematic.
curated by Heloïse Conesa, curator MAMCS
In 2012 the photographer Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand donated approximately a hundred of his photographs to the City of Strasbourg where he settled over thirty years ago. These are now to be displayed at Strasbourg's Modern and Contemporary Art Museum.
Trained as a scientist but also in his early years a painter, he is part of a movement of experimental photographers who in the 1980s opted for a reflective approach to the history and technique of photography as a medium and art form.
As well as now presenting the artist's donation, the exhibition "Colles et Chimères" is also a retrospective, giving us fuller access to the diversity of his approach. Interpreting the secrets of photography's origins in daguerreotypes, rayographs or Marey's chronophotographs, he also explores complex techniques such as "periphotography" or solarization.
Having long lived and worked in Strasbourg, Patrick Bailly- Maître-Grand has strong links with the city, reflected in many of his photographic series. An example is Homage to Arp (1988), the photographer's tribute to the great Strasbourg artist and member of the Dada and Surrealist movements. The letters "A- R-P" can be seen floating in the photograph's visual play with "Arpian" scrolls of fatty broth.
But the subjects explored by Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand largely go beyond the scope of this local historical and cultural heritage. In photographs transforming everyday objects, often unearthed in flea markets, they appropriate themes emphasizing the strange or even the surreal. Beside the random, out-of-the-way and humorous elements that are integral features of his work, there is a profound meditation on the passage of time, fuelled by the search for new ways of constructing, staging and understanding the photographic image. An example can be seen in the triptych Repérages/Locations (2004), a reflection on the theme of vanity.
Preferring an analogue "imprint of the real" to the digital "borrowing from the real", Patrick Bailly-Maître- Grand manufactures "machines to divert us". At the same time, he claims to convey a dual vision of the world, playful and melancholy, as much that of a handyman as of a refined esthete.
This exhibition is being organized in partnership with the Musée Nicéphore Niépce at Chalon-sur-Saône, likewise due to hold an exhibition devoted to Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand in June 2014. In 2012 the artist donated a hundred or so of his works to this museum, as well as a part of his collection of anonymous photographs.
Image: Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand, « Les Nuisettes de sainte Anne », 2011. Nos 2/5, 2/5. Épreuves au chloro-bromure d’argent avec virage et coloration, 100 × 80 cm © Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand
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