Photography and its history have never been questioned except from a point of view distorted by painting or, more broadly, by the graphic arts. “Fabrique des illusions” proposes to think differently about the origins of this medium, particularly in its relations with theater and the performing arts. “Orientalist” photography can be the particular place of this necessary and thorough review; the latter has always worked in the simulation mode.
In the nineteenth century, photography and theater installed new modes of representation. It is the time when the “ocular show” is invented, a scenographic complex with special effects, conglomerate of new images. The perspective of the photographic in all the visual shows in the nineteenth century, theater in particular, is based on common codes and references understood by all. What we are looking for above all is the illusion of life, best embodied by the scene and its effects. Photography is a theatrical space.
“Fabrique des illusions” confronts the “Orientalist” photographs of the Fouad Debbas collection with works by ten contemporary international artists: Mac Adams, Nadim Asfar, Vartan Avakian, Elina Brotherus, Daniele Genadry, Randa Mirza, Louis Quail, Angélique Stehli, Wiktoria Wojciechowska, and Ali Zanjani. The exhibition presents a set of nearly 300 pieces. Since the 1970s, contemporary photography has offered an alternative to illusion. It knows how to play to better disassemble its cunnings. The challenge of this exhibition lies in the confrontation between deceptive beauty and true-lying.
In fact, “The Factory of Illusions” sketches the picture of another history of photography, contradictory and, all in all, illegitimate.
The Factory of Illusions
From July 19th to September 29th
MuCEM – Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean
Fort Saint-Jean – Georges Henri Rivière Building
1 Espl. J4