What is photography ?
Even with thorough technical and theoretical considerations, it is still difficult to answer this vast question that spans all the medium's history. Besides, in this new digital era, it seems the problematic slowly shifted, as if we were more willing to define the new paradigms of photography rather than figure out its ontology. But what would be these new paradigms ?
Instead of trying to solve this question, the works presented in this exhibition seem to want to lay it to rest. Photography is considered neither as a medium, nor as an idea or a material but rather through its historic depth, which includes its technique (from shooting instruments to printing processes) its rituals and the image's social conventions (from studio portraiture to its decorative use and the photo-shooting gallery) as well as its emblematic pieces. Thus, the series Objektiv, After Bernd & Hilla Becher presents the remains of the industry and photographic culture, and by doing so, pays a tribute to the anonymous inventors that history has forgotten. And indeed, we too often forget the abundance of inventions, finds, and hand-crafted processes as well as the profusion and wealth of the questioning that left a mark on the 19th century. The exhibition re-activates various aspects of this past by propelling them in the contemporary world, it ousts the paradigmatic approach to make space for new questions : isn't the evolution of photography similar to that of music, whose furniture function spread through recording processes ? Is it pertinent to compare a photographic camera to a shooting gun ? What are the limits to the perception of an image ? What would an archeological approach to photography look like ? And finally, aren't photography's technical objects more singular than the images they can produce ?