BEHIND THE CURTAIN – THE AESTHETICS OF THE PHOTOBOOTH – MUSEE DE L’ELISEE IN LAUSANNE
Behind the Curtain
The Aesthetics of the Photobooth
From the Surrealists to Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman
Exhibition from 17 February to 20 May 2012
Musée de l’Elysée
18, avenue de l’Elysée, CH – 1014 Lausanne – Switzerland
www.elysee.ch – email@example.com – T + 41 21 316 99 11 – F + 41 21 316 99 12
Jean-Michel Alberola, Louis Aragon, Marie-Berthe Aurenche, Richard Avedon, Alain Baczynsky, Jared Bark, Marc Bellini, Jacques-André Boiffard, André Breton, Hansjürg Buchmeier, Anita Cruz-Eberhard, Sabine Delafon, Anne Deleporte, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Michael Fent, Michel Folco, Valentine Fournier, Lee Friedlander, Näkki Goranin, Jeff Grostern, Susan Hiller, Dick Jewell , Svetlana Khachaturova, Jürgen Klauke, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Naomi Leibowitz, Leon Levinstein, Annette Messager, Willy Michel, Daniel Minnick, Suzanne Muzard, Raynal Pellicer, Mathieu Pernot, Steven Pippin, Jacques Prévert, Raymond Queneau, Arnulf Rainer, Timm Rautert, Bruno Richard, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Ruff, Michel Salsmann, Tomoko Sawada, Joachim Schmid, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Dimitri Soulas, Yves Tanguy, Amanda Tetrault, Roland Topor, Franco Vaccari, Andy Warhol, Gillian Wearing, Jan Wenzel, David Wojnarowicz and the group Fluxus.
When the first photobooths were set up in Paris in 1928, the Surrealists used them heavily and compulsively. In a few minutes, and for a small price, the machine offered them, through a portrait, an experience similar to automatic writing. Since then, generations of artists have been fascinated by the concept of the photobooth. From Andy Warhol to Arnulf Rainer, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman and Gillian Wearing, many used it to play with their
identity, tell stories, or simply create worlds.
Behind the Curtain – the Aesthetics of the Photobooth, an exhibition created by the Musée de l’Elysée, is the first to focus on the aesthetics of the photobooth. It is divided into six major themes: the booth, the automated process, the strip, who am I?, who are you?, who are we?. Provider of standardized legal portraits, it is the ideal tool for introspection and reflection on others, whether individually or in groups. By bringing together over 600 pieces made on different media (photographs, paintings, lithographs and videos ) from sixty international artists,
the exhibition reveals the influence of the photobooth within the artistic community, from its inception to the present day.
Clément Chéroux and Sam Stourdzé
With the collaboration of Anne Lacoste
Wednesday 15 February 2012, 10am
Thursday 16 February 2012, 10am
Several artists will be present for the opening, including Sabine Delafon, Michael Fent, Jan Wenzel, Naomi Leibowitz and Franco Vaccari.
Three book signings will take place at the museum’s bookstore on opening night between 7pm and 8pm. Näkki Goranin, Alain Baczynsky and Jan Wenzel will respectively sign American Photobooth published in 2008 in the United-States, Regardez, il va peut-être se passer quelque chose… published in February 2012 in France, and Fotofix, published in 2005 by Editions Braus.
The exhibition has been organised with the support of PKB Privatbank and Loterie Romande.
The exhibition questions the aesthetics of the photobooth through six major themes.
An isolated space, closed in as if it were some sort of modern confessional, the photobooth is an invitation to the most intimate revelations. Generally located in public spaces – subway station, department store or train station – it also offers an extraordinary observation point onto the urban hustle and bustle. It is a world in between the intimate and the public, the inside and the outside, the debarred and the open.
With works by Lee Friedlander, Näkki Goranin, Svetlana Khachaturova, Naomi Leibowitz, Leon Levinstein, Steven Pippin, Timm Rautert, Bruno Richard, Gerhard Richter, Dimitri Soulas and Jan Wenzel.
From the Surrealists to the most contemporary artists, all have been fascinated by the automatism of the photobooth.
The machine does the work. The author vanishes behind the almighty technology. Malfunction can occur at times. The result is a form of poetry of the automatism made visible in its faults, failures or blunders.
With works by Richard Avedon, Daniel Minnick, Arnulf Rainer, Franco Vaccari and Andy Warhol; with works by Surrealist artists: Louis Aragon, Marie – Berthe Aurenche, Jacques – André Boiffard, André Breton, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Suzanne Muzard, Jacques Prévert, Raymond Queneau, Yves Tanguy; and Fluxus group: Eric Andersen, Joseph Beuys, Bazon Brock, Stanley Brouwn, Henning Christiansen, Robert Filliou, Ludwig Gosewitz, Arthur Koepcke, Tomas Schmit, Ben Vautier, Wolf Vostell and Emmett Williams.
As a series of juxtaposed images, the strip recreates spatial or temporal continuities. It reconstructs improbable spaces: a closer look shows that, in fact, the adjacent image is the following image. Through this succession of images, the photobooth holds, as if folded into it, the principle of the cinema. Putting images side by side is already telling a story.
With works by Jean – Michel Alberola, Jared Bark, Marc Bellini, Jeff Grostern, Raynal Pellicer, Michel Salsmann, Roland Topor and Jan Wenzel.
Who am I?
Identity is embodied within the space of the photobooth. It is a space for self-staging, where social, ethnic, sexual, community or any other identity can be strengthened or undone. One can pretend to ascertain one’s naked identity through the mirror of the photobooth, or on the contrary, by pulling faces or in disguise, to establish metamorphoses of the self. The photobooth is the ideal introspective tool.
With works by Alain Baczynsky, Hansjürg Buchmeier, Anita Cruz – Eberhard, Sabine Delafon, Susan Hiller, Jürgen Klauke, Annette Messager, Tomoko Sawada, Cindy Sherman, Gillian Wearing and David Wojnarowicz.
Who are you?
The photobooth is not only a place suitable for self – reflection, it is also a place in which the other can be questioned, in particular through the legal identification system that delivers what is commonly referred to as ‘ ID. ‘ In devoting oneself to the compulsive and bulimic collecting of photobooth strips, one can also get lost in the faces of others.
With works by Anne Deleporte, Michael Fent, Michel Folco, Valentine Fournier, Dick Jewell, Mathieu Pernot, Thomas Ruff and Joachim Schmid.
Who are we?
While it allows us to reflect upon our own identity, or other people’s, the photobooth is also an opportunity to ponder about the nature of the couple, or the group. Inside the booth, some build their image through the mirror of the other, or of others; they pose in pairs or more, thus asserting their affiliation to a social entity.
The photobooth reinforces our gregarious instinct; it embodies collective identity.
With works by Jacques – Henri Lartigue, Willy Michel, Lorna Simpson, Amanda Tetrault and the collection of albums of purikuras.
The Musée de l’Elysée
The Musée de l’Elysée located in Lausanne, Switzerland, is one of the first museums in Europe devoted to photography. Since its creation in 1985, the museum has assembled a collection of more than 100,000 photographs which covers the history of the medium, including a representative selection of works by artists such as Robert Capa, Gilles Caron, Raymond Depardon, Mario Giacomelli or Sebastião Salgado.
Many photographic archives are deposited at the museum, including those of Charles Chaplin, Nicolas Bouvier, Ella Maillart, Jean Mohr and Lehnert & Landrock. The museum hosts several photographic exhibitions of international standing presenting the diversity of photographic practice and organizes exhibitions elsewhere in Switzerland and abroad.
The Collection of the Musée de l’Elysée comprises approximately 44,000 original historical, modern and contemporary photographs.
Over 60,000 original prints are additionally included in the iconographic Collection -an historical ensemble of photographs gathered since the middle of the 19th century and preserved at first by the Lausanne library before being hosted by the Musée de l’Elysée.