20 Pigment prints on fine art paper

Print dimensions : 30 x 40 cm, with frame : 50 x 60 cm ; presented in sets of 9, 15, 18, 21 or 24 images

This project was selected by the patronage commission of the Fondation Nationale des Artietes

The photographs were shot at the Société Française de Photographie, which supported this project.

For a few decades now, collectors, museums and institutions have taken interest in heritage collections dedicated to photography ; more recently, films and slides have started to come out of storage, mostly because of the progress of digitalization. Strangely enough, the photographic technical tools are part of a heritage that hasn’t yet been highlighted, nor has its iconography circulated. These are however beautiful pieces, charged with a certain melancholy, that testify, at their humble scale, to the genius of an era, and to the craftsmanship of the engineers who built them, similarly to the 19th century industrial architecture whose existence and beauty the Bechers’ work contributed to reveal.

Amongst the remains of the photographic industry and culture, the lenses are particularly remarkable, and come in a great variety of shapes, as a result of technical solutions to the various necessary settings. Hence the idea of photographing them and sorting them out in typological series that would document these formal variations in a similar manner to the work of the German artist couple Bernd and Hilla Becher : a similar shooting protocol, same esthetic neutrality, same«grid-like» presentation.

If the reappropriation of the well-known work of the Becher falls under a post-photographic process similar to a pastiche, it also shifts their work into another photographic field, that of the «tinkerers», in the sense industrial architecture is alluded to in a metaphorical way, one could say in the spirit of these artists who create landscapes with small objects, such as Fischli and Weiss and their sausage slices cities (Wurstseries, 1979) or Joachim Mogara and his matchboxes or sugar lumps buildings. Add to that a tautological dimension dear to the conceptual artists - since photography is used to document its own tools and alludes to its own history - that of its technique, but also that of its historical relationship to the 1960’s conceptual art. A tautology increased by the title of this series, «Objektiv», that names the photographic objects as well as qualifies the nature of the Becher’s eye. Finally, this project brings into play an archeological scientific approach, since it contributes to establish an inventory of a certain kind of objects in the form of a photographic archive.