For lovers of experimental photography in Paris, TPTP’s December-show, It Has Happened, was a thought-provoking group exhibition which did not disappoint.
Subtle strains of classical music set the tone for the December 12th, 2009 opening at the gallery on 20 rue Muller, in Montmartre where visitors were invited to explore a compelling selection of contemporary photography by 19 international artists. The contributing artists were Lutz Baumann, Aline Biasutto, Daniel Holfeld, María-Alejandra Huicho, Sibyll Kalff, Scotty Lawrence and Andrew Scott Ross, Evi Lemberger, Anke Loh, Eduardo Goulart de Macedo, ´Chia´ Nurhamsiah, Vincenzo Pandolfi, Simona Da Pozzo, Valérie Prot, Anahita Razmi, Andrew Schroeder, Jordan Tate, Anjana K.V., and Keren Zaltz.
Unlike its predecessor Residue, this exhibition seemed to focus less on process and more on the power of the fully realized image to evoke other worlds than the strictly documentary. The central question, then, was to what extent we could consider each photo to be an autonomous work instead of a direct reference to a real past, or a faithful reflection of reality.
On one end of the spectrum, there was the highly textural and non-literal. In his work “Untitled”, Lutz Baumann investigated texture and volume, as well as the theme of absence. Using two orange diagonal lines made of tape which radiated from either side of the photograph, he firmly anchored his work in the realm of the abstract.
On the other end, we saw Evi Lemberger’s “Girl, Vari” which examined fragmented cultural identity. Lemberger adopted the intensely personal perspective of the outsider as she showed us a gypsy girl proudly displaying her wedding dress. A member of the displaced and marginalized population of Transcarpathia, the nineteen-year-old candidly shares the happiest day of her life with the viewer.
Next, in “Love, Pinkie”, Daniel Holfeld used photography to document the private identity of a very public leader. The photo of the late Benazir Bhutto’s intimate letters to her family presents the tangible remains of her private legacy.
Finally, in “Sans Titre (Filature)”, Anahita Razmi reconstructed the observation photo of artist Sophie Calle viewing a painting in a gallery. By divesting the image of its original narrative, however, Razmi potently blurred the boundary between art and reality.
In conclusion, It Has Happened impressed and delighted visitors with its diverse responses to the question of the essence and limits of photography.
By Jasmine Soori-Arachi