They say he's ambiguous, anarchic, brilliant, artistic, charismatic, courteous, demanding, disturbing, different, elegant, enigmatic, eccentric, feministic, free, generous, iconoclastic, intellectual, intelligent, introverted, Japanese, lyrical, masterful, minimalist, modern, mysterious, paradoxical, poetic, provocative, punky, radical, refined, rebellious, rigorous, romantic, seductive, sexy, silent, uncategorizable.
Yohji Yamamoto created Y's Company Ltd in 1972, but it was a long time before he began to take an interest in communicating a particular " image ". In 1984, he decided to begin doing so, but in an unconventional way. Marc Ascoli, a young art director who had worked in PR, had everything to prove; he sought out young beginners like himself who were working outside the world of fashion. For the first shots of the autumn-winter collection of 1984-1985, Max Vadukul had to ask for a cash advance in order to buy himself a decent camera. This didn't prevent his unreal black and white pictures taken in Manhattan from fulfilling their contract, standing in sharp contrast to the highly edited visuals that prevailed in fashion houses at the time.
The following winter Paolo Roversi created the season's image for Yohji, with an androgynous female wearing a huge hat and shot in profile, her hands resting on a cane. Six unforgettable catalogue seasons followed, under the direction of photographer Nick Knight. For each catalogue, the photographer acted as a filter, stepping back from the Yohji style and bringing his own creativity to bear to create a new way of looking at the designer's work.
From 1995 to 2000, the Yohji Yamamoto collections were photographed by Craig McDean, David Sims, Paolo Roversi, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, under the direction of the M/M agency in Paris.Le style Citizen K
30 October - 1 December 2002
This exhibition focuses on the visual creativity of Citizen K, a magazine that has always been far from the mainstream. It is a forum for cutting edge photographic experimentation, both in terms of form and inspiration. Under the watchful eye of art director Kappauf, contributions are extremely varied: fashion specialists such as Jean-Baptiste Mondino, young Britons like Elaine Constantine, "old hands" like Peter Knapp, or unexpected faces in the field such as Martin Parr. The exhibition will focus on photographs on the printed page, and will also show how the magazine itself is put together. Martha Rosler
30 October - 1 December 2002
For over 30 years the political and subversive feminist Martha Rosler has been exploring the contrast between male power and the role of women in American society. Using videos, installations, performance art, written texts and images, she analyses the oppression of women by juxtaposing domestic images, images of war, and fragments of bodies portrayed in public space advertising (on the subway, in airports etc). For a long time Martha Rosler was seen as an "underground "artist.
Martha Rosler was born in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1965, obtained an art degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1974, and began her career as a painter. For a long time she was considered to be an " underground " artist, and the way she uses different media has meant that she is still seen as a pioneer. Until recently she refused to exhibit her work in museums or commercial galleries, preferring more direct contact with the public via newspaper and magazine articles, written texts and performances. Although she had many exhibitions before then, only in 1993 did she decide to enter the institutional art world, exhibiting in private galleries such as the Anne de Villepoix Gallery in Paris (from 1997 on), the Gorney Bravin & Lee Gallery in New York and the Christian Nagel Gallery in Cologne.
Her series " Body Beautiful " or " Beauty Knows No Pain " (1966-72) transforms advertisements into photomontages showing women as objects and effectively foreshadows the US feminist movement. " Bringing the War Home " (1967-72) presents photomontages and war reportages inserted into idyllic images of domestic interiors - images of comfortable American homes in wealthy suburbs taken from House Beautiful magazine, with terrifying scenes of war seen through their windows.
In the black and white photos of " The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems " (1974-75), Rosler shows, without sentimentalism, architectural details and empty liquor bottles in a run-down neighbourhood in Manhattan.
Continuing her analysis of contemporary society, she studied totally controlled, uniform and anonymous public spaces such as airports. Her series " Transitions and Digressions " (1981-1997) explores the same themes but this time in the subway, showing store dummies and ads presenting fragmented images of women.
Martha Rosler has also been involved in film work, inspired, she says, by Jean-Luc Godard. Her videos question the female identity with both sobriety and humor, often including images of Rosler herself. In " Semiotics of the Kitchen " (1975), she sits in front of kitchen utensils and describes them in great detail, parodying TV cooking shows and revealing the deep frustrations of women who are prisoners of domesticity.
" Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained " (1977) shows the naked body of the artist undergoing a medical exam. She is seen being measured and examined by two white-coated men as two women wait silently nearby, the clinical setting a metaphor for the rigid canons that determine our place in society. " Martha Rosler Reads Vogue: Wishing Dreaming, Winning, Spending " (1982) is a film of a public performance in which she reads and deconstructs the underlying messages of Vogue and its advertising.
In her more recent work she continues her critique of mass media, war, the world economy and nuclear weapons in the hegemony of the Western world, using huge installations to present the visual strategies of modern society.
Martha Rosler's work is political, and has an essential place in the history of the contemporary visual arts. Her show at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie is the first of its scope in Paris. It includes her photographic work, notably the photomontage series " Body Beautiful " and " Bringing the War Home ", as well as videos caustically presenting images of women attempting to escape from their status as objects.
The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Anne de Villepoix Gallery, Paris and curated by Elvan Zabunyan, artistic director of the " Women of Images" theme for the Mois de la Photo. Surviving Apartheid
30 October - 1 December 2002
Photography reflecting life in black ghettos was first published in Drum magazine, the first publication made by blacks for blacks in the 50s. It also saw the birth of the South African school of photo-reportage.
Contributing artists focused on issues such as memory and belonging, identity and segregation. For many it was not just a question of making a statement or bearing witness, but of conveying the idea of belonging and responsibility.
So as not to separate documentary work from the plastic arts, the exhibition ends with the work of four contemporary artists who focus on the same issues.Sada Tangara: "Le grand sommeil" (The big sleep)
30 October - 10 November 2002
Originally from Mali, Sada Tangara has lived in Man-Keneen-Ki since 1996. He learned photography in the streets of Dakar, with equipment lent to him by a charity for homeless children, and in the studios of an artists' collective run by Olivier Rebuta.
Sada Tangara has made life in the streets the single subject of his work. He tirelessly photographs children, beggars and rough sleepers in Dakar, making shots where a passion for colour and composition blend with a desire to bear witness to living conditions that were once his own.
Sada Tangara was born in 1984. His first photographs date from 1997, when at 13 years old he began attending Man-Keneen-Ki, the art school and centre for homeless children that Oumar Sall and myself founded in Dakar.
As for all the children in its care, Man-Keneen-Ki always made disposable cameras available to Sada, encouraging him to join in the building of a collective photographic record of the world of homeless children to which he belonged for five long years.
For DAK'ART 1998, the biennale of African contemporary art in Dakar, Man-Keneen-Ki organized a large exhibition at the Office des Anciens Combattants, including 150 photos taken freely in the streets by children in our care. Sada Tangara, like other kids from Man-Keneen-Ki, acted as guide for visitors to the exhibition. The surprise and emotion on visitors' faces brought home to him the significance of the photographs he had helped bring together. It was this experience that made him decide to become a photographer. Towards the end of 1998, he began working on the series entitled Le Grand Sommeil, which he has been tirelessly adding to since then.
Sada Tangara takes pictures of children sleeping in the streets of Dakar : hundreds of bodies, either isolated or huddled together as if awaiting burial in a mass grave. This is all he photographs, recording nothing but abandonment and the repeated, absolute public surrender of children who have no future. The accumulation of these motionless images, where the camera has frozen only immobility, brings home the true extent of this unforgiveable tragedy : a world of broken,ruined, rejected children. […]
Yet this young photographer does not dramatize, and although he carefully frames his shots and chooses the right angle and moment for each picture, he never does this with the intention of adding a moral commentary to the image or encouraging the viewer to engage in a sympathetic reading of the subject. What Sada Tangara feels for the children he photographs is not pity but friendship. He knows them all : some by sight only, most of them by name. He lived with them for five long years. So what we have to understand about these pictures is that they do not form a reportage or a documentary on poverty ; they are, first and foremost, portraits.
Sada Tangara's aims are clearly political; he is naturally aware of the power of his pictures and hopes that they will " disturb those who sleep soundly in their beds ". But when he presses the shutter, he is in fact taking a family photo. This is clearly the principal strength of this work, and something that only he could achieve : these pictures of human tragedy are steeped in kindness and friendship.Carlos Garaicoa; "Neither Christ, nor Marx, nor Bakounine"
30 October - 1 December 2002
With his many photographs, installations, and texts on the meaning of the urban experience, the Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa can be linked to a long line of artists whose work expresses a personal relationship with the city - in Garaicoa's case, the city of Havana. His work constitutes a complex suggestive canvas conveying a feeling not so much for the architecture of the place as for its essence and its spiritual qualities.
[…] The subject of the urban fabric and its fragility has also preoccupied numerous masters of the literary and visual arts. One could say that Carlos Garaicoa, with his extensive photographs, installations and writings on the meaning of urban experiences may be linked with a long historical line of creators who have labored to express their own personal relationships with cities -those in which they live or those that they have adopted. […] In the case of Garaicoa, of course, that urban space is his own city - Havana.
Anyone who has travelled to Havana immediately understands both the intense magnetism it radiates as well as the aura of lassitude and near-despair that it produces. Gorgeous buildings have been miserably neglected for years, their paint peels from their walls, ragged awnings hang in shreds, sculptural details only barerly survive from structures that date from the colonial age to the early twentieth century. Proud, elegant boulevards are now lined by mere ghost of what once was. The experience of being in Havana - especially the Old City - is akin to that of being in a dream. It is unsettling, fascinating and disorienting all at the same time. […] In Garaicoa's work we imediately apprehend the magnitude of this complexity of emotions that inevitable accompany the daily existence of the citizens of Havana. Garaicoa's art speaks to us of urban history, the political ramifications of the specific locus, sensuous relationships to specific streets and buildings and the evocative power of individual structures. Through his art we live - however vicariously - the experience of Havana. Garaicoa allows us to formulate our own vision of this place - even if we have never been there - by making his own connections to it so palpable and passionate. What Garaicoa does is to fashion his own mythological structure around the "idea" of Havana. It becomes the setting for a complex web of suggestions that succeed in making real for us not the architecure or the streets themselves - but the essence, the aura and the spiritual qualities of place. […]
Perhaps he is closest to Jorge Luis Borges - himself a myth maker and explictor of essential qualities and mysteries. Borges' evocative descriptions of Buenos Aires in his novels and stories seems to be mirrored in the eerily fascinating, sometimes opaque and obscure, always visually beautiful and sensuously provocative images of Havana in Garaicoa's work.[…] In effect, Garaicoa created for us both a vision of the "real" streets and alleyways of Havana but, more importantly, an "inner city"- which can sometimes be an angst-ridden utopia. His emotional engagement with the city experience culminates in his fashioning of his own personal urbis as a reflection of the corners, paths and buildings of his imagination. If we enter with him on his journey we are bound to be richly rewarded.
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