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Montpellier : Denis Roche. Photolalies, 1967-2013


The Pavillon Populaire is currently hosting a retrospective devoted to Denis Roche showcasing photographs he took between 1967 and 2013 while he continued to write poetry. This major exhibition  opened on  November 25th just three months after his death so Photolalies comes as a timely and fitting tribute to the poet-photographer’s career. The exhibition catalogue is published by Editions Hazan.

The photographs I take are a direct view: they are the circumstances or compositions I come across while out and about – either in the street or when travelling. They simply show what is there in front of me. Nothing is staged, there are no studio images, no premeditated pictures. The images are a bit unusual and preclude any kind of commentary.”

Can a major writer like Denis Roche give photographic art the same authority as literature, when poetically evoking the radiance of beauty and the bewilderment of death in both forms?

Roche certainly rose to the challenge over his 40-year career in a unique body of work composed of the autobiographical,  with a constant reflection on time, the repetitions of love and some formal experimentation, where cross-references – or “photolalies” as he called them – between images taken from one year to another underpinning a photographic approach that steeps the medium in a new kind of solemnity and intelligence.

This is the first comprehensive retrospective of Roche’s work in France it includes self-portraits – alone or with his wife Françoise – portraits of writers or friends and still life images with a modernist or surrealist touch. There are more than 100 prints – many of which  previously unseen – on show at the Pavillon Populaire. Denis Roche is one of the illustrious representatives of the French “photobiographical school”. His recent passing makes the exhibition all the more moving.

Gilles Mora, Art Director of the Pavillon Populaire and curator.

Denis Roche. Photolalies, 1967-2013
From November 25th 2015 to February 14th, 2016
Pavillon Populaire
Esplanade Charles de Gaulle
34000 Montpellier
T +33 (0)4 67 66 13 46
Tuesday – Sunday 10am-1pm / 2pm-6pm

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