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Les filles du calvaire : Antoine d’Agata : Codex | Mexico, 1986-21


Les filles du calvaire gallery announces Antoine d’Agata‘s next solo exhibition, which will take place from October 28 to December 4, 2021. Five years after his last exhibition Atlas, d’Agata is revisiting all of his work in Mexico.

1986 – 2021. The body of work presented at the gallery reflects the experiences of this prolific artist: violent and troubled. The ensemble bears witness to a journey, of incessant back-and-forth trips to Mexico, which for the artist have been an area of ​​absolute experimentation, beyond limits. The photographic material that makes up this set comes from experiments carried out over 35 years. Two stories are intertwined here, that of Mexico and that the author entertains with the violence of a community he has seen disintegrate.

“For forty years, – long before becoming a photographer – I have lived, through my own experience, in Mexico as elsewhere, in this requirement of a possible sharing, within the community of those who have no community. », As George Bataille calls it, of a« community of lovers »in the broad sense, in love and stoned, invisible and infinitely fragmented, of those who have nothing but their body to survive, to feel and to exist. “

The entry point to this violence is a drug: Crystal Meth, which spares neither individuals nor social structures. To directly incorporate this history of violence, Agata absorbs the chemistries that are its source. The process is both brutal and extraordinary. The devastated reality then becomes abominable: the landscape becomes empty, the human fabric crumbles, the death drive dominates.

The images of the women who punctuate the exhibition are the singular ones he encounters in the shared experience of violence. The exhibition, scheduled during Paris Photo, deploys different artistic languages: digital or analog photographs, serigraphs, engravings, videograms, found images; there are many entries into the work: formal, technical, political or conceptual. A system of “polyptych” frames that can sometimes contain up to dozens of images, reveals the profusion of Antoine d’Agata’s work.

“No particular fondness for photography but the need to make the camera spit out what has not been said. Not to consider the thing but to swallow it whole. Spill it out. The material is there, in the ruts of reality. Through tenacious addiction to pain and pleasure, I dissect the mechanics of our bodies that have become puppets, subjected to fear and desire. “

D’Agata’s involvement is physical, direct with the world and the experience of the bodily coercion that violence, drugs or his presence with prisoners impose on him. To bear witness to his story and that of the other, Agata designs a photographic labyrinth where he assembles temporalities and arranges languages. The work is sometimes collaborative: stolen photos, screen prints and images made by prisoners are superimposed on the photographer’s original images. The repertoire is that of crime, sex, drugs, abandoned spaces. The black romanticism of the origins gives way, to the rhythm of the exponential violence that Mexico lives, to a photograph where reality resurfaces, raw. The contrast between the excess of gestures, the visual saturation and the rigor of the exhibition makes it possible to understand the complexity of his intention.


Antoine d’Agata: Codex | Mexico City, 1986-21

from October 28 to December 4, 2021

Opening Thursday October 28, 2021 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire

17 Rue des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris, France


The gallery will participate in Photo Days from November 1 to 30

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