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Antoine d’Agata


For a long time, this distinction between day and night was an unconscious one. Because I am represented by a photography agency (Magnum) I sometimes find myself in the position of being able to report on the state of the world […] I have never had any qualms about allowing myself to be the frustrated hostage of a commission, because the strategic and political issues facing the press are very real. But the way I photograph in these situations is cold and distanced, the emotional economy totally opposed to my commitment in the places and moments of extreme experiences. The gaze behind these images of our times is serial and systematic. It makes inventories of other processes, like those anthropometric portraits made by the American police that I gleaned from the Internet. In the end, if I juxtapose images on a wall it’s because I want to preserve the chaos and integrity of each lived moment, as an autonomous fragment.
Antoine d’Agata
Excerpt from an interview with Lea Bismuth in the February 2013 issue of Art Press.

Fannie Escoulen answered a few of our questions :
How did this project between Antoine d’Agata and Le Bal come together? 

F. Escoulen:
We’ve been exhibiting Antoine’s work for years, long before the Le BAL opened. It seemed important to take stock of his work now, ten years after his landmark 2003 exhibition at the Galerie VU, 1001 Nights. His approach to photography has evolved since then, and a whole section of his work remains unknown, especially his more realistic, documentary photographs from Libya, Palestine, Saint Etienne, Marseille and Sangatte.

What is your take on his more inflammatory subjects? 

F.E :
I wouldn’t call them inflammatory. They are traces of the world that Antoine Agata travels through, which is one of ceaseless violence. We feel concerned by the work because in a certain sense we belong to this world, at least in part. We participate in it as both subject and witness.

What work have you done in his archives? 

F.E :
We looked through about 100,000 images over the past year. Then we began to design and put together the installation. We wanted it to be radical, to account fully for the experience of the life of one man, and to bring the viewer into a direct confrontation with the work.

What did you discover in this process?

F.E :
We learned that Antoine’s art needed to be revisited and understood differently, that it was more than simply autobiographical. Sometimes his work has been too confined by its form, too mannered. Presenting his works today requires a different approach; we had to enter into them through the political, social and intimate content of the images and texts.

Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire –

LE BAL January 24 – April 14, 2013
6, Impasse de la Défense
75018 Paris

15 mars – 27 avril 2013
17 rue des Filles du Calvaire
75003 Paris


Publisher : Xavier BARRAL
19,5 x 26 cm 560 pages
2 400 photographies
70 euros
January 2013
ISBN : 978-2-36511-003-7

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