An History of Photography

Private Collection

A photographic archive is essentially a form, a typology, a sensitivity. The only way such an archive can be managed is if everything conforms to a clear and logical order, the specifities of which are established by the person who instils and orchestrates the dialectical movements that inhabit it. An archive tells a thousand stories and includes as many figures as there are eyes to contemplate it. It contains all possibilities. Each image is the beginning of a story. This exhibition, from the Elizabeth Margot private collection, has come together slightly in the manner of an exquisite corpse ("cadavre exquis"), the literary game invented by the Surrealists. One after the other, the images are juxtaposed. Sometimes they contradict each other; sometimes they embrace or gaze at each other. They end up forming what André Malraux called a "musée imaginaire" (imaginary museum).

Berenice Abbott, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Helmut Newton, Vivian Maier, or Man Ray, are all part of the game, each providing a "subject, a verb or a compliment", and creating a new angle on the history of 20th century photography.


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