A Period of Juvenile Prosperity



A Period of Juvenile Prosperity

Past: October 31 → November 30, 2014

Born in Arizona, Mike Brodie roams the American lands to offer brutal — from time to time shocking but always fascinating — images of those four years of travels, train by train, from one encounter to the next. Covered by masks such as pseudonyms, the amateur makes himself a name as the “Polaroid Kidd”, the teeny-tiny child of the small format. Child, cause he was seventeen when he threw himself on the tracks and rails of (a) life, in 2002, with few personal effects and for what was supposed to be just a short journey… One that lasted several days soon followed by a much longer journey he left for with discretion… The modesty of the nickname doesn’t fully express the striking effect those American photographs still have on a photographic scene that lacks new ways of representing a well visited and thoroughly described territory. For his first personal exhibit in France, this photographic Denis Hopper presents a group of photographs published last year in the already sold-out Twin Palms’ A Period of Juvenile Prosperity. Considering the success of his American exhibitions over the past two years, the Filles du Calvaire gallery teamed with the New-Yorker Yossi Milo to pick a substantial amount of those already rare photographs.

It does not imply the Polaroid pictures Mike Brodie started with in 2004, when he found on the backseat of a car an old forgotten camera. This format, that gave him his name, is the one with which he signed the tags he left along his journeys, on walls, following railroad-tracks’ wanderings and encounters. It was in 2006 that he made the standard negatives (35 mm) his own while being confronted with the 46 American states and the 50 000 miles he walked across. In a sort of compulsive road movie, this series follows the steps of “train hoppers”, youngsters from the American suburbs who took the habit of hacking trains, jumping from one to the other, travelling laid down in wagons or with their noses to the wind, sitting on piles of paper, lulled by the acre sun of the prairies and American steppes.

From those images, one keeps in mind friendly gazes of unknown faces, that soon become dearer to us, of the almost punk-tough, often grunge violence of the American sub-culture, still dusty from the emanations of the air blown by the trains that carry them away. Like voyeurs, we are sitting among this youth, with eyes maybe a little too close, the nose drawn into its sweat and blood, onto those vagabond faces that remind us of the hobos’ poverty during the Great Depression. The poverty of those who used trains as means of communication and transport for economical reasons… Here, we are caught by their untamed wildness, one that bears a sense of complete freedom, of not knowing boundaries, and that seems to be exactly what Mike Brodie translates for us into images.

  • Opening Thursday, October 30, 2014 6 PM → 9 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

17, rue des Filles-du-calvaire

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 74 47 05 — F. 01 42 74 47 06


Filles du Calvaire

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 6:30 PM
Please note that the gallery will observe its usual hours from May 11 to May 16, then from May 18 it will open Thursday — Saturday 11 AM to 6:30 PM

The artist

  • Mike Brodie