I mirror with Vivian Maier: thoughts on the exhibition at Les Douches La Galerie
Les Douches La Galerie is currently hosting a Vivian Maier Exhibition “The Color Works”, which also includes many black & white photographs.
Of course, her work is great but the exhibition concept is quite simplistic, the work is not at all contextualised and it’s presented a bit cramped. It all has an air of a desire to monetise her work, considering the in-your-face display of several pricing catalogues. Yet, in my view this is an option and financial inclination of the gallerists, not (necessarily) of John Maloof, the guy who discovered her and brought her into the light, and whose stamp is on those “originals”.
It’s a great story of curatorship from a non-curator: John didn’t have any links to the establishment so at first no museum or gallery wanted to exhibit Vivian Maier, when he presented her photography. You should definitely check out the story behind.
So, I believe Maloof needs and deserve a pay-out for the immense work he has done post-mortem to honor Vivian Maier’s work and actually transform her unprocessed films into images. I consider this mercantile approach as a marker of this gallery in particular because in November 2018 I saw another (free) exhibition of hers in Berlin, at Willy Brand Haus and it was much better curated, both as space and lay-outing both as how you felt as a visitor.
Get a sense of the exhibition in the following video:
VIVIAN MAIER: THE COLOR WORKS – LES DOUCHES LA GALERIE
Those of you who already know me, understand how beautiful for me it is to reflect myself in the photographs of Vivian. It’s like a bridge across time, united by a mere gesture. This practice is part of my creative research I Mirror the Mirror, and plenty of my works can be found on Instagram.
My hypothesis, in super-brief, is that, leaving aside that the dyad subject-object is outdated (perhaps it can be replaced in our theoretical practices by the actor-network approach), there is no such thing as the objectivity of an “object” because it is always impregnated by our gaze and by its context.
I shall publicise more on this idea in the future, but for the time being it suffices to point out that, for me, the beauty of the photographs I took of Vivian Maier’s photographs resides exactly in proving this point: that there is a certain “I”/ “we” looking at them, so they exist printed in a certain space, which also hosts other works. Therefore, only the “looked at object” encompasses all these layered meanings.
Anyhow, for the time being I shall let you enjoy those photos 🙂
Some of the images exhibited at Douches La Galerie