Friday, July 3, 2009

Parrworld: The Collection of Martin Parr

Parrworld: The Collection of Martin Parr
Jeu de Paume, Paris, 30 June - 27 September 2009
Curated by Thomas Weski.

Jeu de Paume is currently showing an exhibition dedicated to British photographer Martin Parr. "Parrworld" presents the both funny and satiric universe of this constant observer of the contemporary society. It gathers his latest photographs, as well as those from his own collection, but also many objects and curiosities he has been collecting throughout the world.

The objects
Among the themes evoked by these diverse objects, we find the age of the Soviet Sputniks, the reign of Maggie Thatcher, the pop group The Spice Girls and 9/11 – all events or phenomena that have entered the collective memory, largely because of their prominence in the media and association with strong visual imagery. Parr always chooses his everyday objects and curiosities for their ability to symbolise and crystallise the Zeitgeist. Their thematic organisation affords a new perspective on these items of very diverse origin. "I am also very attracted to objects which are ephemeral. Their significance and cultural context changes as the world moves on. Many of these objects are associated with people or events that are bound up with the glories of a certain time and place. When these glories fade, the object takes on a certain resonance, and that is the driving force behind the collections represented here."

Photography collections
Parr's favourite social themes are also reflected in the collection of photographs, presented here in British and international sections (approximately 80 and 25 photographs, respectively). The first part comes from what is the biggest private collection in England. Here, social documentary photography is found alongside works from the 1970s and 80s by Tony Ray-Jones, Chris Killip and Graham Smith. Artists such as Keith Arnatt, Mark Neville, Jem Southam and Tom Wood represent contemporary British photography. The international section features images that have influenced Parr or with which he feels a strong personal connection, ranging from photographs by masters such as Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand and William Eggleston, to pictures by friends like John Gossage and Gilles Peress, as well as work by Japanese photographers, including Osamu Kanemura, Kohei Yoshiyuki and Rinko Kawauchi.

2004 - 2008
"We are much too rich for our own good." In "Luxury," Martin Parr examines the phenomenon of wealth around the world, which he considers just as problematic as poverty.To make this new series, he travelled around the globe photographing fashion shows, art fairs, luxury markets and horse races in cities like Dubai, Durban and Moscow, but also took in event like the Oktoberfest in Munich. Modesty not being the most obvious quality of the jet set, who on the contrary love to flaunt their new and superficial wealth, Parr highlights the grotesque in order to produce an uncompromising study of this new international plutocracy, following on from the spirit of his earlier projects on the middle and working classes.

"The Guardian Cities Project"
The daily newspaper The Guardian commissioned Martin Parr to do a report on ten UK towns: Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. Each town was featured in a supplement distributed free with the newspaper, comprising a text by Parr evoking his memories and personal impressions, and colour photographs of the cities and their inhabitants. Jeu de Paume will present these double pages as well as prints of the photographs featured in the supplements.

No comments: