a printed retrospective, 1960—1971
december 6, 2008 —
This retrospective of the works by Diane Arbus (1923–1971), featured by Pierre Leguillon, is the first organized in France since an exhibition at Centre Pompidou in 1980. It brings together a collection of the New York photographer’s images commissioned by the Anglo-American press in the 1960s.
The exhibition presents the original pages, from the magazines in which the images were published, including Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Nova and The Sunday Times Magazine.
The exhibition, a selection from a collection of more than 150 photographs, reveals this particular part of the artist’s work, less known in France, and shows the great variety of subjects dealt with: photo journalism, anonymous and celebrity portraits (Norman Mailer, Jorge Luis Borges, Lilian and Dorothy Gish, Marcello Mastroianni, Mrs. Martin Luther King...), children’s fashion and several “photographic essays”— the images are captioned or commented on by the photographer herself. The choice of presenting the original magazines in the exhibition emphasizes the formal layout choices, and displays the photographs within the original social or political context of that time.
The Printed Retrospective presents itself as an artwork/exhibition/collection, placing the history of photography at the center of reflection, as well as the concepts of original and copy. We can see these images exactly as they were conceived and created by the photographer: in their original format, frame, and relation to the texts.
In addition, Pierre Leguillon creates parallels between these works and a selection of texts or images by other photographers (Walker Evans, Annie Leibovitz, Victor Burgin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Documentation Céline Duval, Matthieu Laurette, Bill Owens) which are direct, or indirect, references to the images displayed in the exhibition, thus underlining the contemporaneousness of this major 20th century work.