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Romainville : Françoise Huguier : Au doigt et à l’œil


The town of Romainville presents the exhibition Au doigt et à l’œil (At your Beck and call) by Françoise Huguier. Gérard Lefort is the author of the following text.



..Silence your  rivals in confidence, impose a graveyard silence, have the last word, even if it is the final one. To tell the story of one’s life is most often to strangle that of others, to murder them. The taste of others is above all the taste of their blood. Confide in order to better recover yourself and retire, satisfied among the corpses, on the devastated hill of one’s certainties.

How can we act outside this funereal law that freezes us? How can we break with this generalized self-consciousness that pulverizes what is outside of oneself? The solution does not consist of adjusting this system through reforms or amendments, by organizing for example a free exchange of confidence in the liberal mode that we know, or worse, because the ultimate trick of organized commerce, a fair exchange on a principle supposedly alternative… Nor is it a question of fleeing towards a supposedly better beyond, of withdrawing from the world. Of course, we could also decree a violent moratorium which would prevent for a few hours, a few months, a few years, any attempt to dare, for oneself and especially for others, “personal memories”. But this solution, however humorous it may be, would not be enough. It should rather be a dissolution: fleeing in place, becoming nomadic but without much apparent movement, transhuming in complete imperceptibility.

For more than forty years, photographer Françoise Huguier has worked towards this discreet withdrawal which is not a retreat. In the vocabulary of classical architecture, a retreat designates a small living room dependent on the bedroom and where one can isolate oneself. Françoise Huguier is the solitary tenant of this dark room where she creates her luminous images. Difficult to grasp, not easy to pin down. You just need to have observed her at work. What we then discover is that we almost never see her taking pictures.

An invisible woman, a great reporter who makes herself small as well when she hides, more than she stands, behind the scenes of a fashion show, in the bags for an interview with Akira Kurosawa, in the limbo of phantom Africa, in the holds of Siberia, in the closets of the last community apartments in Saint Petersburg or in the backrooms of Korean society. What does she mean by showing, developing, exposing, editing? That an image is better than a long speech? That a snapshot has lasting value? It’s probably much more complicated. In Korea, Ile de France or Deauville, it is always very difficult to photograph intimacy. She doesn’t rush to her camera, she listens and gets people talking about their lives. During this time, her eyes, like a scanner, locate future shots and measure the light. Then she asks if she can go to the toilet, an intimate place that always tells the story of the family: photos, newspapers, toilet paper and kettle. On the way out, she “innocently” asks who the little boy is, the brand of toilet paper… and there it is, Sesame, she is asked to visit the apartment. She managed to photograph the wardrobe, the owner in bed in her nightgown or in the shower. It’s an investigative technique that she obviously didn’t have when she started taking photos.

Over time, Françoise Huguier began to tell the story of her life by focusing on that of others. Which she has already done explicitly on two occasions: in the manner of a literary self-portrait (Au doigt et à l’oeil, Sabine Wespieser, 2014) or, more photo romance novel, in the manner of a long confidence relating how, in August 1950, she was kidnapped by a commando of Vietminh fighters on the Cambodian rubber plantation of which her father was the administrator (I was eight years old, Actes Sud, 2005).

But as an exciting paradox, it is perhaps when she is closest to an autobiographical model that Françoise Huguier distances herself the furthest from it.

Gérard Lefort


Françoise Huguier : Au doigt et à l’oeil

February 9 – March 31, 2024
Opening February 9 at 6 p.m.
Place de la Laïcité, Romainville
followed by a reception in the Hall of Honor at City Hall



Afrique émoi – February 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Le Pavillon, 28 avenue Paul Vaillant Couturier, Romainville
– Live musical performance by Mama Sissoko against the backdrop of a photographic trip to Mali.
– Discussion with Françoise Huguier moderated by Gérard Lefort, journalist and Françoise’s traveling companion.
– Sale-signing of works by Françoise Huguier in partnership with the Les Pipelettes bookstore.


Screening of the documentary Kommunalka at the Trianon Place Carnot Romainville – Sunday March 10 at 11 a.m.

Before the film, shared breakfast and after the film, meeting with Françoise Huguier.
A screening which is part of the Ciné-Rights of Women Day.
Single price: €4
Ticket office:

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