Tuesday, 1 February 2011
New exhibition at La Monnaie
I was browsing the Paris website at the weekend for things to do and a new exhibition caught my eye. Peurs de la ville is about Paris (bien sûr) in some of its most troubled and turbulent moments. It captures the fighting that raged during the Liberation of Paris in 1944, May 1968 and more recently the unrest in the banlieues in 2005 and 2007. Many of the photographs are provided by Paris Match.
That alone would make it worth a visit, but what makes this exhibition a bit different is the section, which elsewhere has been called Guerre ici by veteran war photographer Patrick Chauvel. This photojournalist has taken images of conflict and war from war-torn places such as Afghanistan and superimposed them onto photographs of famous Parisian landmarks.
The results are highly realistic images of street battles by the Sacré-Coeur, a solitary tank in front of the Arc de Triomphe and a stricken Tour de Montparnasse. As a fan of dystopian fiction, I found the images extremely interesting. They are also designed to make us appreciate the peace we enjoy in the West by bringing war closer to home. The original conflict photographs are displayed as well, allowing the viewer to compare and contrast.
There is another small section about Google Street View and its controversial attempt to photograph the world's streets, but compared with the Guerre ici section it is rather uninspiring.