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Seydou Keïta at Grand Palais


The Seydou Keita exhibition which opens today at the Grand Palais, and the accompanying catalog, are impressive. They come from the Jean Pigozzi photograph collection. He shared these following words regarding the show.

« Many many years ago, I went to a small exhibition in New York on African art, and I stumbled on two photographs that said “Photographer unknown, Mali”. I was so impressed by the quality of these pictures, that I asked my curator, André Magnin, to go to Bamako, Mali and find who took these wonderful photographs. After a few days, André found an old man sitting on a big metal case that contained about 10,000 negatives. This old man was Seydou Keita. We started working with Seydou, published books, have done shows around the world, and saved a lot of his negatives.

My admiration for Seydou Keita is total. He was completely self-taught, and had a particularity of only taking one photograph, which is absolutely amazing when you consider that modern photographers take many photographs to get a good one.
The second thing is he was a master at using natural light, and also was incredibly good at positioning hands in such elegant ways in all his portraits.
Seydou Keita also was a type of businessman, as he was into the rental of costumes and jewelry business. Also, if you were willing to pay more money, he would even add a car, a radio, or some other modern accessory.
I feel that Seydou Keita should be considered a great photographer, on the same level as Avedon and Penn. »

– Jean PigozziThe CAAC is the largest private collection dedicated to contemporary African art in sub-Saharan Africa. It was created in 1989 by Jean Pigozzi, with the collaboration of André Magnin, who was artistic director until 2009. The collection, based in Geneva, includes nearly 12,000 works.

Seydou Keïta
From March 31st to July 11th, 2016
Grand Palais
75008 Paris

Seydou Keïta
Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais, Paris 2016
22×24 cm, 224 pages
248 illustrations
35 €
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