Until January 15, the Pavillon Populaire of Montpellier presents: Métamorphose : La Photographie en France 1968-1989. Its curator Michel Poivert speaks of it as follows:
Conceived in France as a profession, a hobby or more rarely an art, photography has become a major cultural fact in less than a generation. While reporting had established itself as its great benchmark, it no longer finds its only place of expression in the press. Photography in France is undergoing a metamorphosis. It will now be the adventure of authors, and the quest for more literary and artistic models – which does not prevent social or political commitment. Photography therefore aspires to become a means of expression in its own right. After the page of the newspaper or magazine, it is the picture rail of the museum or the page of the artist’s book, which forges its legitimacy. To meet the challenge of creation, French photographers are reinventing the very idea of photography, changing format as well as subject. The model of American photography is essential, as in music or cinema. But this “influence” encounters a medium of photography in full reflection. What would later be called “French theory” (philosophy, human sciences and language) enriched the debates and inspired photographers. Between the end of the 1960s and the end of the 1980s – symbolically between two historic moments, May 68 and the fall of the Berlin Wall – photography no longer resembled the so-called “humanist” photography that we saw until then. in France. Both more subjective and more intellectual, the 1970s and 1980s were those of a generation that saw photography enter contemporary art. Formats are exploding, color is essential, aesthetics is becoming the primary concern. Institutions are born, following the example of the National Center for Photography: the latter has conquered its autonomy, in the same way as theater, literature or cinema. But it remains the great medium of reality. The photographers carry out a determined action to represent a country which is gradually emerging from the 30-year post-war boom and is facing the times of economic crises.
At this time when photography must gain its legitimacy, each work becomes a manifesto: more than an image, photography has become a culture.
Metamorphosis: Photography in France 1968-1989
from October 29, 2022 to January 15, 2023
People’s Pavilion // Photographic art space of the City of Montpellier
Esplanade Charles de Gaulle
34000 Montpellier, France