André Kertész Exhibit at the Jeu de Paume
I finally managed to see the André Kertész photo exhibition presented at the Jeu de Paume until February 6, 2011. Although Kertész donated all his negatives to the French state when he passed away in 1985, it is actually the first real retrospective of his work in Europe. The exhibition presents a large number of original prints covering the various periods of his life, from Hungary where he was born, to Paris where he became a leading figure in avant-garde photography in the late 1920's, through to New York where he lived for almost 50 years.
I found the first part of the exhibit quite intriguing. Kertész's early work was printed in a very small format, sometimes no larger than 5 cm (2 inches) high or wide. Those prints are so small that magnifying glasses are made available to see the details of the images. Being forced to be so close gave me a very intimate impression, almost like I was entering the image itself. The rest of his work was printed on larger formats, which I must admit, was easier to see and enjoy.
Kertész became a master at finding the strangeness out of ordinary scenes, producing evocative images rather than documentary ones. He enjoyed capturing fleeting moments and did comprehensive work on mirrored images, doubles, shadows and reflections. The streets also became his favourite source of inspiration and some of his work can be considered in the same vein as Doisneau, Cartier Bresson or Willy Ronis.
The variety of his work and the length of his career made Kertész one of the most important photographers of the last century. 25 years after his death, it is good to see a retrospective of his work in the heart of Paris, a city of which he was particularly fond.
Saturday, 5 February 2011
Jeu de Paume, 1 place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris. Métro Concorde.
Open: Tuesday from 12:00 to 21:00, Wednesday-Friday: from 12:00 to 19:00, Saturday and Sunday: from 10:00 to 19:00. Closed Monday.
About the Author
Sophie has been a photographer, educator and traveller for most of her adult life. She founded Better Paris Photos in 2008 (which became Better Travel Photos in 2014) to deliver exceptional photography experiences to travellers.