“States of souls, spirit of places”: images of the shade at the MMFA

«États d’âmes, esprit des lieux»: images de l’ombre au MBAM

Picture: Carlos Sanchez and Jason Sanchez
Carlos Sanchez (born 1976) and Jason Sanchez (born in 1981), “The Everyday [everyday]”, 2000

The photograph does it a day ended up with its bad image ? For a long time, it held fast to its status as art or it is reduced to a form of minor art, because it is too mechanical. These days, even if his rating increases, in the collective imagination she is still a bit like a poor cousin of painting or sculpture…

You will be surprised to learn that it is just over 20 years ago, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (MBAM) has finally taken the smart decision to build a collection of photographs worthy of the name. Since 2010, this institution was more clearly announced its intention to bring together an impressive complex of images of canadian artists and quebec. In 2013, this gave rise, among other things, the presentation of a set of photographs of authors, that one could also describe photographs inspired documentary, photos selected by the commissioner Marcel Blouin.

In this spirit, the works that come to offer the business man Jack Lazarus and his wife Harriet at the MMFA will, obviously, raise even more this young set of works. Donors have generously sold 33 photographs including images of Angela Grauerholz, brothers Carlos and Jason Sanchez, Nicolas Baier… You will also find pictures of artists more known on the scene known as international. For example, you can admire the fabulous bright and Inoue in the light of my apartment, New York, 1996, of the fame Nan Goldin.

«États d’âmes, esprit des lieux»: images de l’ombre au MBAM

Photo: Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), Migrant Mother,” Nipomo, California, 1936

To celebrate this donation, the MUSEUM puts more than these gifts to the displays. More than one hundred works from the impressive collection Lazarus are exposed to them. There are several artists and art works that highlight the history of the photo, including pieces by Robert Frank, Gordon Parks, Paul Strand, Alexander Rodchenko… You will notice, in particular, several images of Dorothea Lange. A print of his famous photograph titled Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936, part of the collection of the family of Lazarus, merit alone a visit. It would be well that such an image can one day enter in the MMFA collection… But as we learned from this exposure on the definition of the picture of our days ?

For the theorist Rosalind Krauss, the photograph would have changed our relationship to the world and to art, becoming the new paradigm of the post-modern period, dethroning the painting in her role of artistic style. Is it so simple ? Since the early 1990s, other theorists, such as the artist Joan Fontcuberta — who commissaria, among others, the mois de la photo à Montréal 2015 —, speak of a post-photographic. The digital image would be stripped of its function fingerprint from the real — at least in the collective imagination… But is it not a reduction of the footprint concept to a mimicry of appearances ?

«États d’âmes, esprit des lieux»: images de l’ombre au MBAM

Photo: Nan Goldin, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery
Nan Goldin, “Inoue in the light of my apartment”, New York, 1996. MMFA, gift of the collection of the family of Lazarus (detail).

This exhibition shows, however, how the photo continues its ancient history, its engagement with the double nature of the image — or any artifact — both a historical testimony and artistic expression. The images presented here have, in fact, still one foot in the documentary field and one foot in the field, more strictly artistic, in a type of photography that were called at a certain time of ” pictorials “.

This expo also reiterate the categories of classical painting, such as portrait or landscape. Thus, in spite of a speech glorifying the breaking of photography, this exhibition highlights how the photograph has not finished debating with the painting and with modes of narration old.

States of souls, spirit of the place

Photographs of the collection Lazare at Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, until April 28,

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