Monday, December 13, 2010

ANONYMES at Le Bal, Paris

ANONYMES or America Without Name presents work from a broad spectrum of American photographers who have been looking at the nondescript and the flattening of daily experience in American culture.

Curated by David Campany and Diane Dufour the show is an intelligent and unsettling look at the harsh realities of life today in the Superpower.
Ten photographers are represented with work from Walker Evans, Chauncey Hare, Standish Lawder, Lewis Baltz, Anthony Hernandez, Sharon Lockhart, Jeff Wall, Bruce Gilden, Doug Rickard, Arianna Arcara et Luca Santese.

The work spans 50 years or more with Walker Evans' photographs from the 30s and 40s of anonymous citizens in Detroit; Lewis Baltz' 1973-1974, New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California; Anthony Hernandez, Waiting, Sitting, Fishing and Some Automobiles from 1978 -1980.
The older work is probably familiar to many but I hadn't seen the the recent work from Doug Rickard, A New American Picture, 2008 - 2010, where Rickard captured and edited images from Google Street View. Arianna Arcara and Luca Santese presented an informal archive, 2009 - 2010, made from hundreds of found images made by Detroit Police as evidence to crime. These now in a state of decay. Bruce Gilden's photo-films Foreclosures, 2008 and Detroit: The Troubled City, 2009 are a visual investigation into the effects of the American financial crisis.

This first show at Le Bal is of museum quality both in its presentation and its substance. There is a strong idea behind this show which neither hinges around "photography" nor conceptual outposts. Yet the message here is clear, in a society that celebrates individuality, achievement and the self there is a price to pay, much greater for some than for others.

And last but not least when you leave the show you exit via the bookshop. And I'm pleased to say one of the the best photobook shops I've seen south of in Cologne.

The photographs: © Janeth Rodriguez-Garcia

You can check out Le Bal here:

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