By Fannie Escoulen, Pierre Hourquet and Anna Planas
How can we take a fresh look at a city already captured from every angle?
Paris has always been a source of inspiration for artists, writers, directors and photographers. Paris is a thriving cosmopolitan hub in a state of constant change, yet still deeply rooted in its history. It is a place of new experiences, encounters and discoveries. How can a new generation of photographers, influenced by fashion, cinema and literature as well as the paroxysms of everyday life, contemplate the City of Light? Is there a group of successors that can inspire new representations of contemporary Paris?
The “Photographier Paris” exhibition endeavours to reinvent this vibrant, diverse city through the eyes of 17 artists from all walks of life. They connect with Paris and its surroundings using a myriad of quirky, surprising and unusual styles. They all work with this abundant subject matter, whether it be its residents, architecture, events or urbanity, aiming to bring an original, funny, serious, melancholic, colourful, chaotic or silent point of view. From intimate stories and personal drama to the small trivial moments of everyday life, they go beyond the anecdotal to unveil a new mosaic, an imaginary multi-dimensional map of Paris.
The exhibition takes you on a journey. In Belleville-Ménilmontant, Thomas Bovin has been meeting passers-by and drawing their portrait for five years. Ola Rindal wanders and captures surprising, dreamlike images. Yusuf Sevinçli walks, steal photos and then makes a quick exit. Stephan Keppel observes and fragments pieces of the city. Paulien Oltheten sits on a street corner and asks customers: why not? Lucile Boiron engages with immigrants and eventually photographs them. Laurent Chardon documents the city and its transformations, lost in the never-ending labyrinth. Peter Tillessen invents bite-sized, funny urban dramas. Sandra Rocha connects with a group of teenagers in suburban Paris and talks about love. Geoffroy Mathieu digs into the concept of rurality in Greater Paris and investigates new methods of urban agriculture production. Finally, Louis Matton becomes an architect, urbanist and political leader by creating the “Aéroparis” project, closing the exhibition by presenting a project house. Images taken by Yerin Mok, Camille McOuat, Quentin De Briey, Maxime Verret, Safouane Ben Slama and Laurent Kronental connect with these 11 large ensembles, visual countershots to the displayed series.
A new Parisian landscape is revealed through the eyes of these young artists who are in tune with current events and have their fingers on the city’s pulse. Paris will always be an artists’ playground by virtue of its status as an electric, eclectic city of incredible wealth, giving us a glimpse of the world of possibilities in a multifaceted, global city.