Photographic collections of Cnap
10 18 2014 ... 01 18 2015

The musée Nicéphore Niépce is this year dedicating an exhibition to works from the collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques.
This is the result of a partnership between the two institutions, and this new show will display a selection of pieces by Pierre Faure, Bruno Serralongue, Philippe Durand, Luc Delahaye, Claire Chevrier, Cécile Hartmann, Guillaume Janot.

Photography must always be taken in context. In the 90s and 2000s, while artists continued to explore the artistic potential of the medium as did their predecessors, they tended to represent the world and current affairs. The photographers in this exhibition, who came of age in the eighties, have witnessed society changing at an accelerated rate: political upheaval, revolution in the East, ultra-liberal economics in the West, the dislocation of society, the multiplication of conflicts around the world… all of this contributes to a feeling of insecurity and a realisation of the danger that the technological and industrial development of our societies can lead to. Photography bears witness as much as it informs, taking diverse paths to get there, from the cold eye to intentional aestheticisation. It paints the portrait of a society, “a marvellous world”, with its fair share of solitude, violence and banality.

Exhibition selection /
Pierre Faure (born in 1965)
Théâtre du fantastique
FNAC n° 01-880 à 01-882
The Théâtre du fantastique  series is some of Pierre Faure’s first photographic work. He presents the city as a location for situations, gestures and relationships between individuals. By recording banal postures, everyday actions, human contact, without giving them any more importance than their environment, Pierre Faure invites us to see what we no longer see, so bombarded are we by the world’s huge bazar.

Bruno Serralongue (né en 1968)
Risk Assessment Services
FNAC n° 02-923 à 02-927
The particularity of Bruno Serralongue’s work lies in his constant questioning of the objectivity of the image, from its production to exhibition.
He photographs – for himself – current affairs, the events that he hears about in the press. But he refuses to use the traditional methods of the professional photo reporter. Bruno Serralongue is interested in showing what happens in the wings, the side issues that don’t interest the usual reporter. In his series entitled Risk Assessment Services , the photographer infiltrated a training course for “Hostile environments and first aid”, aimed at war reporters who work in conflict zones. Thousands of journalists are trained to have their reactions in the field dictated and formatted, to the probable detriment of their reporting.

Philippe Durand (né en 1963)
Still Life Armed Response
FNAC n° 99050
In little touches, Philippe Durand gleans the fleeting signs that give a place its identity. He collects as he travels without really doing an inventory. In Los Angeles, signs for private surveillance firms caught his eye, planted firmly in the gardens of people’s homes. These clear warnings represent the ultra-privatisation of space in the Californian city. They represent all of the violence of an individualistic and security-obsessed society. While he does give a critical view of this reality, Philippe Durand can’t help but embellish it: the seduction of 3D, the greenery and the flowering bushes seem to attenuate the bossiness of the signs.

Luc Delahaye (né en 1962)
Northern Alliance Fighters
FNAC n° 06-258
With a background in photojournalism, Luc Delahaye has made his name covering huge conflicts around the world. While his job is war reporter for the most part, he uses photography’s formal potential to create images that reveal the spectacular aspect of everyday life. His approach shows an often perilous proximity to the event, in tandem with a certain emotional distance. Nevertheless, Luc Delahaye completely owns the aesthetic dimension of his work, like the vast landscape from which the Northern Alliance soldiers emerge in their offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Kunduz region on November 22nd 2001. The format alone means the work oscillates between being a raw testimony of the event and a sophisticated image that could be a historical painting.

Claire Chevrier (née en 1963)
FNAC n° 96-604
Images without a trace of artifice of an abrupt urban reality, Claire Chevrier’s landscapes are conceived as places of sedimentation where layers of history lie on top of one another. In one, a nuclear power station that looks like a castle was transplanted onto a posh house in Leeds in Northern England. The different levels seem to slot together, the buildings blend into one another behind a few bare trees that contribute to the general gloominess. Humans appear to be absent, but they are very much the subject, this is the world they have built and now must suffer.

Cécile Hartmann (née en 1971)
Inhabitant, businessman 2005
Inhabitant : Homeless, 2004
FNAC n° 08-699
FNAC n° 05-593
Using video, or as here, photography, Cécile Hartmann attempts to decode life in our hyper-modern era. She examines the individual within a society that is increasingly fragmented and constantly accelerating. In her series entitled Inhabitant , she captures individuals in the isolation of a frozen moment, an instant of letting go where they seem to no longer “inhabit” this world.

Guillaume Janot (né en 1966)
Sans titre (Manifestant)
FNAC n° 02-989
Sans titre (La fleur / L’homme au parapluie)
FNAC n° 07-232 et 07-233
Sans titre (La Chinoise)
FNAC n° 02-990
Guillaume Janot’s photographs emanate a deceptive calm and silence. The smooth beauty of the shots camouflages the triviality of the thing represented, anchored in contemporary urban reality. He exploits the aesthetic power of photography. The “miracle” comes from the scale chosen, the tight framing, the almost poetic blur in the background. This photography contains uneasiness as one of its modes. It is difficult these days to make a “pleasing” or “moving” image without upsetting it somewhat. The photographic theatre is the privileged location for the passion therein; it is the space where the real world, nature or the city, confront its passions.