Pierre Jahan — Points d’Orgue, 1930-1960



Pierre Jahan
Points d’Orgue, 1930-1960

Past: November 9, 2013 → January 18, 2014

In photography, as in music, there are works that remain deliciously tenacious from generation to generation, and which, even if they seldom figure in prestigious concerts, are more pervasive than many that are celebrated by history or contemporary opinion.

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Pierre Jahan, Buste à la foire à la ferraille, 1947, 0 Tirage d’époque sur papier argentique noir et blanc — Image 30,5 × 24 cm Courtesy galerie michèle chomette, Paris

This kind of minor tune, played out between light and shadow in a life dedicated to photography, was not, however, the essence of Pierre Jahan’s work. As an artist fiercely dedicated to freedom, little given to sycophancy, and unconcerned by the zeitgeist, it was simply a smokescreen that protected him. But discreetly, in his own way, he composed major pieces in the different registers that his temperament led him to explore. Unreservedly, and with dexterity, he deployed all sorts of creative fantasies, exploding received ideas about subject, form, technique and aesthetics.

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Pierre Jahan, Les soldats de Cléopatre — La mort et les statues, 1941 Tirage d’époque sur papier argentique noir et blanc, daté, titré + tampon auteur verso — Image 21 × 29 cm Courtesy galerie michèle chomette, Paris

Since 1986, the galerie michèle chomette has consistently displayed the discoveries yielded up by Jahan’s work, penetrating his defences and, during his lifetime, bringing to light important images and new series; and then, after his death, delving into the huge archive that is now housed in the IMEC, whose cooperation was indispensable to this work.

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Pierre Jahan, Libération de Paris, août 1944, 0 Tirage d’époque sur papier argentique noir et blanc, signé et daté au recto et au verso — Image 28 × 35 cm Courtesy galerie michèle chomette, Paris

Pierre Jahan has had a succession of solo exhibitions at the gallery — in 1986, 1988, 1998 and 2005 — based on groups or sequences that he himself created. Our tribute to him in 2003, our presentation at Paris Photo 2011 and the 2010 exhibition at the Musée Réattu in Arles were, on the other hand, retrospective in character, bringing out the diversity of his areas of production, and his artistic itinerary.

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Pierre Jahan, La main aux yeux, 1948, 0 Tirage original argentique noir et blanc légèrement postérieur — Image 24 × 30 cm Courtesy galerie michèle chomette, Paris

This new exhibition centres on constellations of images in which each dominant star relates to those that gravitate around it in a way that is dictated by the amount of work done on a given subject, the reporting of an event, similarities in the formal approach or the post-development phase, or again, and in particular, the resonances and variations that proliferate across Jahan’s plethoric gamut. The idea is to illuminate his oeuvre from the interior, and to bring out the luminous persistence of the high points he attained in a number of registers, some examples of which will be especially prominent.

Michèle Chomette Gallery Gallery
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24, rue Beaubourg

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 78 05 62 — F. 01 42 72 62 05


Opening hours

Wednesday – Saturday, 2 PM – 8 PM
Other times by appointment

The artist

  • Pierre Jahan