The photo-novel has had a bad press. The term conjures up silliness, sentimen- tality, frivolity or even ingenuousness and the photo-novel is often considered as such. To date, it has only rarely captured the attention of image historians, and even less so the attention of museums and art centres. A serious mistake! Because the photo-novel does have much to say to us ...
Invented in Italy in 1947, the photo-novel was the greatest editorial success of the post-war period and would remain the best-seller in Mediterranean and in South America popular literature for more than two decades. Its readers – women for the most part – numbered in the millions. The magazines in which they were published were passed along from hand to hand and it is therefore estimated that one in three French people was reading photo-novels in the sixties.
Reconstructing this collection of sentimental myths provides for a novel reinterpretation of the advent of consumer society and changes in morals, as well as an unorthodox look at women’s emancipation and liberation in Mediterranean Europe during the second half of the 20th century.
This is the essence of the “Photo-Novel” exhibition, which brings together almost 200 objects, films, photographs and documents, together with some of the finest achieve- ments of this craft which became a mass cultural industry in a short period of time, including some publications produced by directors close to Italian neorealism that have proved to be of outstanding quality.
Produced and presented by and at the Mucem from December 2017 to April 2018, this exhibition event has been taken over by the Museum of Photography and com- plemented by a section bringing together Belgian examples, popular photo-novels or artistic gestures.
Photographers are always footloose and have always brought back a lot of pictures from their travels. Published in books or magazines, these photo- graphs were an opportunity for many readers to discover places they had never visited. They brought to life the countries, regions or towns and cities that these publications intended to portray by presenting their geography,
their history and their populations.
These works and articles from illustrated magazines represent a little-known genre, the “country portrait”. Its golden age stretches from the inter-war years to the end of the post-war economic boom, and corresponds to the expansion of mass tourism. Subject to broadly stereotyped production and frequently instrumentalised in the ideological sphere, these paper countries and cities contain a significant number of nuggets, nonetheless.
If these publications are the work of somewhat forgotten contributors, many of them were renowned photographers(Izis, Paul Strand, Doisneau, etc.) and famous writers (Prévert, Giono, Cendrars, etc.) and they took part in that editorial boom by which many publishing houses distinguished themselves, foremost among which were La Guilde du Livre, le Seuil or even Arthaud.
In the traveller’s extensive library, these books of photographs present the faces of faraway lands (China, Japan, United States, Lebanon, Algeria), closer holiday resorts (Provence, Greece, Venice, Paris) or areas just a short distance from home (Belgium). This editorial continent worth rediscovering enables the reader, even now, to take advantage of the joys of travel without getting out of his armchair.
With the support of the FWO (Scientific Research Fund - Flanders), of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) and of RIMELL (www.litteraturesmodesdemploi.org), and in collaboration with the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
Fifty years ago, on 21 July 1969, the Apollo 11 mission, with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin) on board, made its successful moon landing. In front of millions of viewers throughout the world, hooked to their television sets, man walked on the moon for the first time and America proved its superiority over the Soviet Union during those
Cold war times.
There are many men and women who still remember the pictures of that moment largely unfolding live. For others, the photograph replaced live coverage as much as the film. Almost 1,400 photographs were taken, many of which were badly framed, under extreme conditions in terms of light intensity and contrast, by one, or even two men, the astronauts.
The collector, Bruno Vermeersch, firstly took an interest in the space adventure, before looking into the actual photographic material of this unique and extraordinary event, reproduced and cascaded into a variety of forms on account of the substantial technical achievement, its unintentional aesthetics and its historical materiality.
The exhibition “Splendide isolement” brings together 85 period prints from NASA, an original document of untreated photographs. It offers the opportunity to relive this mythical mission and to confront both the infinitely big and the infinitely small, whether the visitor is an historian, a photo enthusiast, an art lover or a scientist. It further makes it possible for the scientific photograph, all too often overlooked, to find its place in an art museum.
Lastly, it offers an opportunity to reflect on the actual photographic material even proposing technical variations of a unique event that marked the history of mankind.
Syria via Whatsapp -Tanya Habjouqa
In the Same Boat -Francesco Zizola
Un filon en Or -Pep Bonet
25.05.2019 > 22.09.2019
COPYRIGHT © 2012 • DESIGNED BY WWW.MUSEEPHOTO.BE • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED