Jean-Philippe Charbonnier the fifties
Grimaces Kotzabu, Alaska ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
14 juillet 1945 ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Accouchement ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Bal à Issoudun, 1951 ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Eglantine-facéties ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Garçon à vélo ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
La petite Piaf ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
La piscine d'Arles ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
La petite fille à la moto, 1954 ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Mai 68, usine Citroën ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Marcq en Baroeul, 1954 ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Rockers de St-Paul ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Scout, 1947 ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Torride Espagne ©Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
“An exhibition is always a to way settle a score” wrote Jean Philippe Charbonnier in February 1983 in the catalogue postscript for his exhibition “300 pictures: 1944-1984” at the Modern Art Museum of the city of Paris (March 23 to June 26, 1983). The exhibition at the Agathe Gaillard Gallery “What does it mean to be young” is perhaps a way to come to terms with events of the distant past. In the first chapter of “Un photographe vous parle” published by Bernard Grasset in 1961, Jean-Philippe Charbonnier describes how at seven he refused to take a picture of the little “Santa Claus” that got run over by a truck.
A memory sufficiently harrowing that he used it to open his book. And why not imagine that in order to come to terms with this memory, he took pictures of young people on all continents throughout his photographic career. These are the pictures Agathe Gaillard tried with great difficulty to gather given their locations in three different collections. Which doesn’t prevent us from seeing again, or discovering, a few famous prints including her 1975 “La piscine d’Arles” and a few other lesser known “vintage” prints including “La torride Espagne” from 1953. From birth to adolescence, on every continent, without age, sexual or economic discrimination, Jean-Philippe Charbonnier tried, throughout his photographic career, to respond to the questions “what does it mean to be young”? The picture taken in 1955 in Alaska could provide us with a partial answer if we take into account his frequent comment “children around the world laugh at the same funny faces”.
An attitude that can again be found twenty years later in “the many faces of Eglantine”. Twenty years apart, observing “les mimiles à la mode”, from the Issoudun dance in 1951 to “the Saint Paul rockers” in Paris, 1974. From childbirth to card games, from games to rides to brief love affairs after dinner parties, Jean Philippe Charbonnier brings us back down memory lane, the same memories he tried to come to terms with through his pictures.
Correspondant de l’Institut de France
“C’est quoi être jeune?”
Exhibition by Jean Philippe Charbonnier
Until April 30
Galerie Agathe Gaillard
3 rue du Pont Louis Philippe