Thursday, December 23, 2010

André Kertész at Jeu de Paume
, Paris

André Kertész, one of my photographic heroes is showing now at the Jeu de Paume
, Paris. It is a pleasure to see not only the iconic photographs such as Satiric Dancer (1926), Chez Mondrian (1926) and Meudon (1928) but the full breadth and depth of this remarkable and quietly modest photographers career.

There has never been a proper retrospective of the work of André Kertész (Budapest, 1894 – New York, 1985) in Europe, even though he donated all his negatives to the French state. And yet he is one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, both for the richness of his body of work and for the sheer length of his career.

For the first time, this show brings together a sizable range of prints and original documents covering the different periods of Kertész's life and artistic career. It reveals how he developed a genuine poetics of photography, what he himself called "a real photographic language." The exhibition highlights the autonomy of each photograph, while at the same time indicating the presence of series and recurring themes.

Adopting a chronological and linear exhibition layout reflecting the various periods of his creative life, punctuated by self-portraits at the entrance to each space, the curators, Michel Frizot and Annie-Laure Wanaverbecq, have created thematic groups in the form of "cells", highlighting the unique aspects of his output: his personal photography (the photographic postcards, the Distortions), his involvement in publishing (the book Paris vu par Kertész, 1934), his recurrent creative experiments (shadows, chimneys), and the more diffuse expression of emotions such as solitude. The exhibition sheds light on the importance of previously neglected or unexplored periods.

Between 1912 and 1985, Kertész remained true to his approach even though his style changed, technology was evolving (the telephoto lenses of the 1960s), and circumstances were providing new vantage points (From My Window would be the title of one of his books): I have never just "made photos", he said, I express myself photographically.

If you are in Paris, a show not to be missed.

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