A journey into humanity and its representation in images, as well as in its relationship with the surrounding environment, with the cities, which tell their story, reveal themselves in an authentic or unprecedented way thanks to the way they relate to the human.
And, at the same time, a journey through the history of photography, precisely through the path in the human condition, which combines French photography of the early 1900s with that of the American street, from Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis, to Dave Heath, Helen Levitt and Robert Frank.
Sam Stourdzé, director of the French Academy
All of this is “Collection”, the exhibition hosted at the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici and focused on the collection of photographs by Florence and Damien Bachelot: 150 works taken from an immense collection (about 1000 images) which constitutes one of the most important in France. The exhibition – which will be open until 15 January 2023 and is curated by Sam Stourdzé, director of the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici – creates, also through an engaging setting, a dual path, social and artistic, of the human story which is reflected in the History and photography; but a double path is also that of Florence and Damien Bachelot over twenty years and of their approach to building the collection, and that of the curator, who transports in the narration and evolution, indeed, of art and history. Many, therefore, the elements and the ideas that the exhibition brings to the attention of the visitor, between rotations, comparisons, proximity and contrasts: like the turning point that creates the transition to color, with the centrality, in the images, of the “American counter-culture and setbacks of modernist utopia”, a moment which is stopped by Saul Leiter’s period prints – around 40, exhibited in the long staircase that opens after the contemporary portrait by Luc Delahaye – which constitute a unicum characterizing the entire Bachelot collection. And then, again, the works of Gilles Caron, as evidence of the beginnings of modern photographic reporting, or other contemporary documentary portraits signed by Mohamed Bourouissa and Véronique Ellena, the original gaze of Luigi Ghirri and Mauro Giacomelli or that of Vivian Maier, Diane Arbus , Sabine Weiss, up to the focus on the work of Laura Henno, with photos and videos housed in the ancient cistern of Villa Medici. A path, therefore, which shows the artistic and social changes – also underlined by the texts accompanying the exhibition, curated by Michel Poivert – through the lens of the greatest international photographers.
“Collection” – 150 photographs from the Bachelot collection, curated by Sam Stourdzé, French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici, until 15 January 2023