Photography? An Artifice!

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In addition to the exhibition What is photography? , presented in the Centre Pompidou's photography gallery (from March 4 to June 1, 2015, Forum-1), the film department offers an overview of the contradictory and complementary relations between photography and moving pictures.

If the end of the 1960s was marked by the American underground, it was also a particularly fecund period in the development of conceptual cinematic proposals made by artists and filmmakers who were sharing a special interest to the consubstantial components of the film. This approach, which some film historians have defined as structuralist, has drawn the outlines of a new ontology of the film based on the rejection of his illusionist nature and motivated by the deconstruction of its own means of production. Paradoxically or not, this reflexive tendency of cinema has made its dependence – firstly historical and technological - to the photography one of the central elements in the affirmation of its autonomy. By appropriating production stills photography, the American artist Morgan Fisher has displaced, in Production Stills (1970), the documentary function of these still pictures by exhibiting them successively in the front of his 16mm camera and making them both object and subject of his film. This principle of succession finds an extension in Gary Beydler’s Pasadena Freeway Stills (1974) in which the Californian artist explores the relationship between stillness and moving pictures through the scrolling phenomenon. If the films of Fisher and Beydler make from the exposure of their production process by using photography one of the theoretical clue of their reading, Wavelength (1967) by the Canadian Michael Snow achieves, through the masterful and minimalist operation of a continuous zoom movement toward a photograph hung on the wall of a studio, a new ontology of the film in which the photography would appear as a simple off-center element.

- Production Stills (Morgan Fisher, 1970, 16mm, coul, sound, 11’)
- Pasadena Freeway Stills (Gary Beydler, 1974, 16mm, coul, sil, 6’)
- Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967, 16mm, coul, sound, 42’43)

Thanks to Light Cone (Paris), Arsenal (Berlin)




Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 19:00


  • Place Georges-Pompidou
    75004   Paris
    48° 51' 38.2464" N, 2° 21' 8.0388" E