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When Everything Changed

The exhibition “Methamorphose” at the Pavillon Populaire in Montpellier focuses on the years that saw the transformation of photography in France from a job to an artistic and cultural force.

"Symbolically between two historical moments, May '68 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, photography no longer resembled the so-called 'humanist' photography that had been seen in France until then. More subjective and more intellectual, the 1970s and 1980s were the years of a generation that saw the entry of photography into contemporary art." write curators Michel Poivert and Anna Grumbach

© Florence Chevallier, Groupe Noir Limite, series Corps à Corps, 1987

© François Hers, Untitled, series Interiors, 1980

© Suzanne Lafont, Untitled, 1989

© Claude Batho, The sponge and its image, 1980

In those years photography freed itself from its prevalent task of covering information, to become “the art of memory” and acknowledge its subjectivity. It questioned socially accepted canons of beauty, found inspiration in theater and fashion, and turned landscapes into spaces of experimentation. Photographers didn’t fail to focus on the pressing issues of the time, like the AIDS epidemic and the rise of suburbia, but they did so in a personal fashion, liberated from rigid creative rules.

© Alix Cléo Roubaud, Untitled, series Si quelque chose noir, 1980-1982

© Alain Fleischer. Le dos de cuillère, Paris, 1984

© Hervé Guibert, Self-portrait, 1989

The exhibition “Metamorphose” is on view at Pavillon Populaire in Montpellier, France, until January 15, 2023.

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