Le Printemps de la photo

06.05 -- 06.14.1992

Celebrating photography is already a long tradition in Cahors, which has a particular interest in this medium. In 1991, a new impetus was given to Le Printemps de la photographie, to make it a popular event of high artistic quality.


With the 1992 edition, we wish to continue in this direction, while asserting even more strongly the place of photography in contemporary creation. Indeed, we believe that a photography festival today can hardly claim to cover all aspects of this form of expression without falling into gigantism and confusion. Le Printemps de Cahors refuses these disastrous accumulations, and wishes on the contrary to affirm its originality and its commitments.


Since photography has its place in contemporary creation, it is much more than a slightly vain quarrel over a few words. Indeed, it does not matter that some people talk about creative photography, or even plastic photography. It is not a genre or a school that we wish to defend here, but one and only one requirement: that of having to deal with a photograph that is no longer defined by its uses, but by the fact that it constitutes a work, with all the rigour that this implies. And we are well aware of the fact that today there is a certain art photography that is also defined by a particular use, and which sometimes seems to be produced to appear in certain places (museums in general), in a rather vain attempt to compete with painting in its most academic forms.


Photography no longer has to prove that it can be an art. In fact, it is contemporary art, one might say, since for the last fifteen years or so, the photographic medium has been at the heart of contemporary creation (one thinks of Cindy Sherman, shown here in 1991, Gilbert & Georges, Boltanski, Tosani, Hamish Fulton, Boyd Webb, among many others). But this is also true of "pure" photographers whose work is recognized in the same way as that of artists working in other media (I am thinking of Mapplethorpe, Lewis Baltz, Dieter Appelt, for example).


This is why the criteria we have chosen are neither thematic nor stylistic. We will find photographers working in black and white, such as Irving Penn, Jorge Molder, Bruce Weber, Bernard Plossu, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Marlo Broekmans, all photographers in the strict sense of the term, and whose work imposes itself through the creation of a personal imagination and an original formal repertoire. But we will also find artists for whom photography does not have the character of an analysis of reality, but rather represents an element of exploration of a plastic thought. In this way, we show an aspect of the photographic work of a great contemporary artist, Robert Rauschenberg, and a retrospective of Nils Udo's work in nature since the 1970s. The confrontation of works by John Hilliard and Thomas Ruff will highlight two radically opposed ways of using the photographic device to construct a particular vision and work. The work of Barthélémy and Sultra in the Cloister is a way of approaching, through a multimedia installation, the question of the place of the photographic image in public space; as are the giant projections that Krzystof Wodiczko makes on monuments, and of which we show a retrospective in the form of views of these necessarily ephemeral installations.


We are convinced that the public, in its intuitive perception of the images, has a considerable maturity and demand. It is to this requirement that we wish to address ourselves, without any dogmatism, and remembering that what has brought us all together around the photographic image is above all a unique pleasure to see.


Régis Durand

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Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Maria Barthélémy
Léon Bouzerand
Marlo Broekmans
Erik Feller
John Hilliard
Jorge Molder
Franck Olivier
Patrick Olivier
Irving Penn
Anders Peterson
Bernard Plossu
François Puyplat
Robert Rauschenberg
Thomas Ruff
Hans Silvester
Hiroshi Sugimoto
René Sultra
Nils Udo
Bruce Weber
Krzysztof Wodiczko