We must call ourselves Harry Callahan to paint in ebony course Mirabeau, that the postcards have accustomed us to the bright and warm colors of a bright sun playing with the shadows of the plane tree leaves – and in the 50s, they were plethora , plane trees …
In photographs exposed in the Granet Museum, the Cours is deep black, totally opaque, offers a density never reached even in the heart of the night. We just distinguish stealthy silhouettes, tiny subjects of humanity in a work that seems to cling only to female model overprints – still the same, the artist's wife – pixelated by nature, with blades of grass majestic, urban constructions.
A surprising photo exhibition
"Harry Callahan, French Archives, Aix-en-Provence" is the surprising photo exhibition on the top floor of the Granet Museum, to be seen from March to July 21, from the collection of the European House of Photography. 90 shots of this American (1912-1999) considered as a major photographer of the twentieth, worn by the painter and theorist of the photo, follower of the Bauhaus, László Moholy-Nagy, who offered him his first post of teacher to the Chicago Institute of Design. Callahan was recognized by his peers for introducing a "a vocabulary of formal abstraction in American photography at a time when descriptive realism was a dominant aesthetic".
In 1956, thanks to a scholarship, he went to Europe with his wife Eleonor and their daughter Barbara. They stayed in Aix from September 1957 to July 1958 and settled in a house near the Tholonet. Accustomed to the vast avenues of Chicago and the space of the Middle West, he discovers the "picturesque" of this small French city, pursues his vision on the architecture and the graphic design, is extracted from any patrimonial vision to print a cold distance and refined.
The exhibition displays small prints in three themes
The photographer worked – necessarily – in film, sometimes in the camera, at 24 x 36, or medium format. The exhibition displays small prints in three themes. There are incredible views of nature, clutter of pine forests, entanglements of branches, empty space immaculate snow, close-ups of grass where the work of densification of black, worked as in Indian ink or greasiest charcoal , affix a particular thickness and signature.
His work on the nudes offers a very different, intimate palette of experimentation, with many overprinting exercises.
Finally, the exhibition offers a series of urban clichés in which Callahan explores the streets of Aix-en-Provence, the facades of buildings, alleys, searching the space by introducing its personal dimension, its rewriting without ever signing or locate the places. Pascal Hoël, curator of the exhibition, and the team of the MEP, had exhumed these French archives and were committed to find the places. A colossal work of lacemaker, research old photos, location: this storefront drugstore in the 50s was the one that adjoined the glacier Samat, this poster of the latest fashionable film with Michele Morgan screened at the Kursaal cinema, had to be rue Maréchal Joffre. The Isolette, Aumone Vieille, resurgence of glossy paper and time … An interactive terminal illustrates as a GPS this identification work. Not sure that Callahan would have loved this digital intervention in the singularity of his eyes, but for the people of Aix, that's funny fun …
Until July 21st, from Tuesday to Sunday from 12h to 18h. Admission: included in the price of the entrance ticket to the Granet Museum, Saint John of Malta site and Granet XXe site, Jean Planque collection (Chapel of the White Penitents), 5 to 6 €, Tel. 04 42 52 88 32
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