“From day to day”: before and after in pictures in front of the Bataclan

After considering several places in Paris, it was finally the May-Picqueray garden that was selected. Very few should be able to locate on a map of the capital this green space saluting the memory of an anar activist of the last century (who was also José Bové’s secretary and … Libé). But geolocation becomes easier when we know that it was previously identified under the name of Square du Bataclan. It is therefore on its gates that will be presented, from this commemorative Friday, the photographs of “Paris, November 13 – From day to day …”

An artistic project that was designed in consultation with the association 13onze15 Fraternité et Truth, created by victims of the attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis. Which only retrieved one image, among all those previously submitted for its approval: we saw two armed cops, stashed behind a car, each looking in opposite directions. Too violent and evocative.

Led by Laura Serani and Camille Morin, the exhibition and the copious catalog (300 pages, enriched with numerous testimonials, including an interview with François Hollande) bring together forty-two leading names, French and international, who were asked to provide two photographs: one taken before the fateful night, symbolizing in their eyes the life before, possibly mixed with“Carelessness and levity” (even though Islamist terrorism had already sown desolation in the recent past); and the other, after the tragedy, deserving to be interpreted as “An act of resistance […] echo of sorrows, fears, but also hope, revolt and resilience ”. All complemented by a text explaining the choice, or telling the story of the fatal evening as it was experienced by the authors of whom we discover, incidentally, that many were hanging around at the time of the facts in the area – reputedly friendly sector, between terraces and restaurants, where it was good to extend the day spent at the Paris Photo festival, which had opened its doors the day before.

From a detailed examination of the selection, we will note that several had a very elastic interpretation of the chronology of the specifications, like Catherine Poncin, Todd Hido, Hicham Gardaf; or Sabine Weiss who, prerogative of age and iconic status (?), sent a night photo of the Concorde obelisk dated 1950 and, for the more recent part (sic), an embracing couple on the first floor of a restaurant in Montmartre in… 1953. The commentary, on the other hand, does not tolerate any apocryphal interpretation: “I no longer understand this world that I have embraced so much.”

This benign compromise pinned down, the common goodwill suffers no challenge, which, once overcome the stupor (this group of appalled friends, gathered in an apartment, by Nicola Lo Calzo), favors a sincerely cathartic overview, from Hannah Whitaker’s nurturing breast, to Frédéric Stucin’s flowering tree.

“Paris, November 13, 2015 – From overnight…”, exhibition on the gates of the May-Picqueray garden, 75011.
Free entry, until March 11.
Catalog to eds. 13onze15 / The Wall Projects.


Gilles Renault

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