01 March, 2011

Visit to the André Kertész Exhibtion at the Jeu de Paume, Paris

Blogger: Ruth Haycock, Senior Exhibitions & Partnerships Organiser
Ruth and Rebecca from our Exhibitions team were lucky enough to fly to Paris last month to take in the André Kertész exhibition at the Jeu De Paume, and while their visit was purely for pleasure, they kindly agreed to tell me about the trip for the Museum blog.
Day One: Saturday 5th February
After a landslide near Halifax and a delayed flight for two and a half hours, we arrived in Paris only to attend an exhibition that had closed a week early - not a hugely successful start!
We did manage to find Le Bal and an exhibition titled Five Strange Family Albums, showing works by Erik Kessels, Emmet Gowin, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Sadie Benning. It was an interesting exploration of the family album, where the uneasy and unnerving undercurrents of relationships was explored.
Following a fairly long day, we wandered through the streets of Montmartre, stumbling into a rather lovely restaurant where, in the style of Gilbert and George, we ate the same food, and drank the same wine - except that Rebecca had an extra glass!
Day Two: Sunday 6th February
We rose early about 8am so we could get to the André Kertész exhibition. We arrived at the Jeu De Paume before the doors opened. This was the reason we'd made the journey to Paris and it being the last day of the exhibition we didn't want to take any chances. Six hours later we emerged from the gallery and there was still a long queue of people waiting to get in which was really surprising, yet encouraging to see that a solo show was pulling in such huge crowds.
Jeu de Paume Crowd
The exhibition covered three main periods of his life: Hungary, Paris and New York. It was fascinating and we both realised that Kertész had a possible obsession with legs, particularly amputated ones, and prosthetic limbs or parts of mannequins - I'm sure there's a thesis in there somewhere!
Opposite Jeu De Paume was a shop selling a beautiful array of men's hats, and in homage to Eugene Atget's Lichtbilder (1930)
'Lichtbilder' 1930 Eugene Atget
we took this photograph:
Rebecca & Ruth's Hats
In the same vein we took a shadow portrait, as Kertész pictured himself in shadow on a number of occasions.
Untitled 12th December 1979, 1979. André Kertész
Untitled, 12 December 1979 (1979). André Kertész
Rebecca & Ruth's Shadows
Later in the afternoon we went to Petit Palais to see 100 Photos by Pierre and Alexandra Boulat for Press Freedom. This again was a popular exhibition although the curation and exhibition design was a little disorientating. The interpretation and feel of the exhibition would have perhaps been more successful if father and daughter had been shown independent of each other.
If you want to see original material by André Kertész and Eugene Atget you can visit The Lives of Great Photographers here from 15 April – 5 September 2011, and The Art of Arrangements: Photography and the Still Life Tradition will tour from early 2012.

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