A photographic archive is above all a form, a typology, a sensitivity. This archive can only be governed by a clear order and logic, the specificities of which are established by the very person who instills and orchestrates the dialectical movements that settle there.
Howard Greenberg is a key figure in the international photography scene. He has been a gallery owner for nearly 40 years and has participated in the development of many private collections throughout all these years. The archive stored in his gallery in New York contains nearly 30,000 prints of the biggest names in 20th century photography, the same ones that helped shape our gaze and create collective imagery and a personal imagination.
This archive tells a thousand stories and has as many figures as faces that contemplate it. It contains all the possibilities. Each image is the beginning of a story, and draws the portrait of the person who tells it.
The exhibition-collection that we present elaborated a little in the manner of an Exquisite Corpse, literary game invented by the surrealists, Jacques Prévert and Yves Tanguy, and of which Georges Bataille says “it is the most perfect illustration of the spirit”. In turn, the images are juxtaposed to each other, sometimes contradicting each other, kissing each other or looking at each other in the face. They end up forming this “Imaginary Museum” of which André Malraux speaks, because each one of them, by the presence of the others is metamorphosed and tells together something else.
Berenice Abbott, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, or Man Ray took part in the game, bringing their “subject-verb-complement”, in the manner of a William Burroughs cut-up, thus creating a reinterpretation of the history of photography of the twentieth century.
From Archive to History – Howard Greenberg Gallery
March 9 to June 9, 2019
Campredon art center
20, rue du Docteur Tallet