Paul Graham — Beyond Caring (1984) / The present (2011)
Beyond Caring (1984) / The present (2011)
Past: September 14 → December 9, 2012Paul Graham au BAL Pour ses deux ans d'existence, le Bal accueille le photographe britannique Paul Graham, figure majeure de la scène contemporaine. R... Critique
For its second anniversary, LE BAL presents the acclaimed contemporary british photographer Paul Graham.
A few months after retrospectives of his work at London’s Whitechapel Gallery and the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany, LE BAL presents two series by Paul Graham : _Beyond Caring (1984-85) _from his early career, depicting unemployment offices in Thatcher’s Britain, and The Present (2011), shown for the first time in France and the final part of an American trilogy which also includes American Night (1998-2002) and A Shimmer of Possibility (2004-2006).
In the mid-1980s, Beyond Caring introduced a new kind of social commentary to the great British tradition of sociological surveys, regenerated by the unconventional and, given the documentary nature of the work, controversial use of colour. Refused permission to take photographs in unemployment offices which were bursting at the seams with 10 million people out of work, Graham put his camera on the floor or on the chair beside him, and took the photos without using the viewfinder. The random compositions with their arbitrarily framed, resigned bodies, further heighten the sense of alienation.
The Present pays tribute to the legacy of the American masters of street photography — Harry Callahan, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand — and the hustle and bustle of New York City whose streets are a jumble of people, neon lights, signs and gestures. Graham captures two (or three) images from this uninterrupted flow, taken just seconds apart, and presents them as diptychs (or triptychs).
Set side by side, the images reveal unexpected, fortuitous affinities between two points in time. The decisive moment unfolds. Looking back and forth between the images, we are prompted to consider how they are connected, and this heightens our awareness of the ephemeral alchemy of reality. Like John Baldessari before him, Paul Graham captures that unlikely instant when three balls thrown into the air are suddenly perfectly aligned. The extraordinary within the ordinary. Triviality as perfection.
This exhibition is held in partnership with Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire in Paris and Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York.
Paul Graham is the recipient of the 2012 Hasselblad Foundation International Photography Award.
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