Photography Performs: The Body and the Archive

Co-curated with the collective Agency and Chantal Pontbriand

With Éric Baudelaire, Mohamed Bourouissa, Gohar Dashti, Simon Fujiwara, Joachim Koester, I-Chen Kuo, Uriel Orlow, Christian Patterson, Allan Sekula

As an archive, photography documents and stands witness to History, and as such is garnering much attention. But photography is not only a tribute to the past as it is an expression of the contemporary. This medium not only represents the world but can also transform and influence it.

How does photography act ? How is it in an act in the making ?
In this instance, photography is realized in a space and time that is its own and which we share. Photography shows the body as it moves through the world ; it allows the capturing of the micro- realities of this presence. Hence it gives rise to a living archive. It captures what we miss in the looking of everyday life, which lets itself be grasped by immediacy, the necessities of daily life which don’t allow the gaze to rest. Photography questions the gaze, mobilizes it, focuses it’s intensity.

Performative photography passes through forms, as the verb perform indicates. Here, it points to the invention of new paths, new ways of crossing through the present times, in order to see what the real shows, how it manifests itself, what constitutes what can seem unusual, marvelous, or daunting. In this way, this exhibition is composed of different forms: photography, installation, video, and performances, as well as brings together artists from different regions of the world.

This exhibition is an homage to Allan Sekula (1951-2013), and its subtitle is borrowed from one of his principal texts. Sekula, in surveying the most consuming social movements of the end of the century, created an uncommon archival basis. Privileging the instantaneous and the detail, overlooking protocols and the spectacular, Sekula succeeded in giving photography a performative impulse that escapes the ideological rigidity of History.

CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-005  CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-004 CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-011  CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-017 CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-020  CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-025 CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-028  CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-040 CPIF-2014-La-Photographie-Performe-048

Installation views, Photography Performs: The Body and the Archive, Centre Photographique d’Île-de-France, Pontault-Combault, 2014.
© Aurélien Mole

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