American photographer, Rhona Bitner invites us on a journey to the heart of the history of American music through her series “The Listen Project”.
Like Charles Marville, who in 1864 had documented the streets of Paris on the verge of disappearing, Rhona Bitner fixes on film and lists the most emblematic places in the history of music in the United States before they also disappeared.
In 13 years from 2006 to 2018, across 89 cities and 26 states, the artist has immortalized 395 different places testifying to a past history and looks back on the well-known or lesser-known emblematic moments of 20th century American music.
These are empty places, devoid of any living soul that the artist shows us.
Theaters, bars, stadiums, clubs, vacant lots or private interiors, intact, rebuilt or destroyed, these places inventoried by the artist bear witness to a history. Contrasting with the story with which they are associated, without music, the specter of what could have happened comes to us, however, and we can easily, thanks to our imagination, reconstruct the scene, feel the music and dream of having been there. The artist draws us into a work of projection in these places in which the music vibrated and the crowds went wild.
Like this photograph “17 Nussbaum Road, Raymond, Washington – November 17, 2015”, in which the artist shows us a tidy living room with dubious and hostile decoration in which it is, at first sight, difficult to project oneself. Yet when we learn that it is here, at 17 Nussbaum Road, that the group Nirvana organized their first concert before its members even decided to give themselves the name officially, the film suddenly appears to us.
Through her series “The Listen Project”, Rhona Bitner shows us intimate images, witnesses of a story known to all and offers us a dive into the past. It invites us to “listen”.
From November 10 to December 23, 2022, the Galerie Italienne invites you to come and visit the “Listen” exhibition through a selection of 17 photographs from the series “The Listen Project” and to discover or rediscover the most beautiful stories of American music.
Rhona Bitner (b. 1960), lives and works between New York and Paris.
Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Art Museum at California State University, the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
In France, her works have entered the collections of the National Center for Arts, the National Fund for Contemporary Art, the Regional Fund for Contemporary Regional Art in Brittany, the European House of Photography and the Pinault Collection.
Rhona Bitner: Listen
November 11 – December 23, 2022
15 rue du Louvre – 75001 Paris