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Photography experiments with 10 photographers and their original worlds


The exhibition space Topographie de l’Art in Paris features an astonishing exhibition on the theme of experimentation, with the participation of a panel of artists whose works are brought to reflect on one another.

Experimenting means testing something. It involves taking risks that consist in entering unknown territories, putting oneself in danger. This trial-and-error calls for experimentation and the experimental. It challenges the established parameters of photographic processes. To experiment is to break the rules, play with procedures, to think outside the box. It means letting go of light, time, cameras, and the flat, so-called photographic, surface. It means reinventing a relationship to the world that subverts prejudices, conventions, and norms constitutive of “photography.” In a way, it means regaining one’s independence, breaking through that which, in a set protocol, is a limitation or an obstacle.

In addition to its overarching theme, the exhibition brings together different contemporary artists-photographers who often also conduct conceptual research. Some expand the very idea of photography as a medium by revitalizing its precepts. This idea, according to Gilles Deleuze, cuts across all creative activities, where the percept is “a set of perceptions and sensations that survive those who experience them.”

The exhibition thus incorporates several approaches represented by 10 artists—Anna and Bernhard Blum, Pierre Cordier, Patrick Bailly-Maitre Grand, Rodolf Hervé, Garry Fabian Miller, Gábor Ősz, Catherine Rebois, Caroline Reveillaud, Georges Tony Stoll, and Joel-Peter Witkin—who share a common interest in the notion of experience and experimentation. It is this very diversity that captures the visitor’s attention and invites us to the exploration of the potential of a medium associated with experience and with contemporary photography.

Experience is more than the simple observation of a phenomenon; it is also the fact of bringing up to date, of verifying the cohesion between reality and the idea of reality. It is possible to analyze the variants of a body of thought through a medium such as photography, which reproduces constantly changing forms. This demands true autonomy, tangible experience, as well as requires that art be always something other than art.

It is precisely this confrontation between singularity and cohesion, between individual experimenters, that is at work here. It also reveals a new version of what experiment and experience may mean. Thus it could be said that photography develops itself and reveals itself to itself.


Catherine Rebois

Catherine Rebois is a writer and an exhibition curator specializing in images. She lives and works in Paris.


Expérience photographique
February 13 to April 12, 2018
Topographie de l’art
15 rue de Thorigny
75003 Paris

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