06.18 -- 06.27.1993
The experience of the 1992 edition of Le Printemps de la photographie prompts us to confirm the orientations we wished to give it at that time: an event of reasonable dimensions, of high quality in terms of the choice of artists and works, international of course, and taking as its main field a photography that is in the field of contemporary creation, to the exclusion of all other particular uses (documentary, journalistic, advertising etc.).
The echo encountered by Le Printemps 1992 also reinforces, in passing, the idea we have been defending for a long time, according to which contemporary creation is, in itself, neither difficult nor "elitist", quite the contrary. If there are sometimes difficulties and misunderstandings, this is more often due to the way in which the works are shown or presented than to the works themselves. This is particularly true of contemporary photography, which has managed, thanks to the analogical nature of the medium, to retain a more or less strong link with the appearance of things, and which does not deprive itself of playing on the force of presence and visual seduction of this exceptional material.
Certainly, there are other contemporary uses of photography in which this force of evidence moves away, and which can therefore be disconcerting by inviting a non-referential reading of the work. But no one needs to be a specialist to appreciate, as tens of thousands of spectators did last year, the enigmatic splendour of Thomas Ruff's effigies, or the ambiguous fascination of John Hilliard's scenes. Never before has what Antoine Vitez said about the theatre seemed more appropriate to me: "an elitist art for all". "Elite" designating a demand for quality and rigour, a desire to offer a strong and meaningful experience, and not the privilege of a few.
It is therefore in the same sense that Le Printemps 1993, quite naturally, is committed, with, however, significant modifications. First of all, the exhibition venues. One of the originalities of Le Printemps de Cahors lies in its nomadism in the city.
Fortunately, certain strong places, which offer remarkable exhibition spaces, remain from one year to the next: the Moulin Saint-James, the Chantrerie, the Grenier du Chapitre. Others, which we liked last year, have disappeared, regaining their original vocation as commercial premises. To replace them, we visited many others, which Cadurcians spontaneously and generously put at our disposal. Because we wanted a clear and concentrated itinerary, we finally opted for two main exhibition hubs. The old town centre, with the spaces mentioned above (plus the Cellier des Elus and the courtyard of the Grenier du Chapitre). And the one formed by the Henri-Martin Museum and the Law Courts. At the Museum, it is the few rooms that have been renovated, in the hope that this renovation will now continue, so that Cahors will thus have a quality exhibition space that the town needs most. It is also the very remarkable chapel of the same museum, pulled for a few weeks from its dusty slumber. As for the Palace of Justice, it is the Hall of Lost Steps that will be used in a somewhat unusual way: the pleasure of contemplation will temporarily take the place of argument and concern.
In all, then, 14 exhibitions, a much more substantial programme than last year, without going beyond the limits we have set ourselves. If we wanted to make a clear distinction between categories, we could say that three types of work appear: works that are more purely photographic, which question the possibilities and limits of photographic representation of the world; works that interact with painting and sculpture, but also with cinema; and finally, works that are more in the nature of installation art. Among the former are William Klein, Gabriele Basilico, Alain Turpault, but also, in a way, Eric Poitevin and Roland Fischer, as well as, of course, most of the photographers represented in Bernard Lamarche-Vadel's collection. Among the latter, there would be Pascal Kern, Pierre Mercier, Rémy Fenzy, John Baldessari, Joel Peter Witkin, while Lewis Baltz and Bertrand Gadenne would be more a part of the installation. Of course, these distinctions are rather artificial, they do not take into account the specificity of each person's work. The following pages attempt, in a few words, to situate more precisely each of the works on display.
With a reinforced programme, extended exhibitions, new venues, meetings with the public, the Printemps de Cahors has now found its place among the major photographic events of the year. What follows will give an insight into what is still essential : the pleasure of discovering or rediscovering contemporary works that speak to our senses and our spirit.