Launched in 2020 by Emmanuelle de l’Écotais (former curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, specialist in Man Ray) in order to federate all the places and events related to photography and video during the autumn in Paris, Photodays offers a rich programme of visits for informed collectors or simple amateurs through more than a hundred places (galleries, museums, foundations or private flats). A rich festival where we have picked out a few nuggets.
Using photography “as a living instrument rather than a collection of moments frozen at the moment of capture”: this is the line chosen by Sarah Baley. It is also a visual and fictional search that the New York photographer pursues in her “narrative selections” that play on the narrative potential of “suspended” images. Similar to freeze-frames, her photographs are unsettling in their fixity of tenfold intensity. Dramatising the moment while corrupting it, seeming to distort time, they compose enigmatic urban photographic novels unfolding the thread of a fictitious story in a highly controlled aesthetic of chaos.
Until December 11th
1831 Art Gallery – 6, rue de Lille, Paris 7e – www.1831artgallery.com
Underpinned by the same “cinematic tension”, but devoid of narrative thread (but not of clues…) and protagonists (no characters in these abandoned landscapes), Christopher Thomas’s photographs in his Exquise Nostalgia series, produced between 2000 and 2020, take us on a strange tour of the “bittersweet” world – Bittersweet, to use the title of a number of these shots. From Texas to Ukraine, in nocturnal but illuminated atmospheres, in a kind of in-between, our hearts sway between joy and sadness, wonder and despondency: this is nostalgia, but if it has been painted, has it already been photographed?
Until January 28th
Galerie XII – 14, rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul, Paris 4e – www.galerie-photo12.com
The Submersion of Images
16,380 minutes: this is the duration of the exhibition, the time it takes to project and then erase 16,380 photographs taken by David Horvitz since the early 2000s as part of his project entitled Nostalgia, a reference to the 1971 film by American director and photographer Hollis Frampton, of which he is proposing a sort of remake. While Hollis Frampton’s 40 minutes of film showed the consumption of thirteen silver prints placed on a hot plate, David Horvitz orchestrates the definitive destruction of his archives… Only short descriptive texts, resembling small prose poems, collected in an artist’s book, survive the erased files… According to Horvitz, what is at stake is our survival: “In a world where images are amassing, mostly of digital origin, where data storage even raises environmental issues, the destruction of these photographs is an act of resistance. ” From there to making a work of art out of them, it’s just a step that, in the age of “disruptive everything”, has just been taken… After The Subversion of Images 1 comes the time for their destruction…
1. An album of surrealist photographs taken in the late 1920s by Paul Nougé (1895-1967).
Until 21 January
Galerie Jean-Kenta Gauthier – 4, rue de la Procession, Paris 15e www.jeankentagauthier.com
David Horvitz, Courtesy Jean-Kenta Gauthier