The Eyes of the Louvre
In the preface of the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Henri Loyrette situates this show within the framework of carte blanche given to photographers by the Louvre.
This is the sixth one, after those made by Patrick Faigenbaum, Jean-Luc Moulène, Candida Höfer, Christian Milovanoff et Nan Goldin. “They confirm, once again, that the view that artists can bring from our collections is every time a rediscovery, a reactivation of our knowledge and of our view on the works. Everyone adds their vision of the Louvre.”
Mimmo Jodice’s invitation by the Louvre fits in the line of his precedent researches and exhibitions such as Transitti in the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples in 2008 or his retrospective in the Maison européenne de la photographie in 2010.
Born in Naples in 1932, Mimmo Jodice very early on focused his exploration on Mediterranean civilization. After an important social commitment in the 1970’s, he questions the Mediterranean landscape, its art, its architecture, its archeology.
The series that he has chosen for the Louvre enters within the line that is fixed from the beginning: “the work on the vision, the line of the view and the retinal perception.”
In the line of sight if we may say so about the effects of time on the ancient sculptures and in particular on their eyes, their view. Followed by a confrontation between the baroque paintings from the Musée de Capodimonte and photo portraits.
At the Louvre the work synthesizes in certain ways his first experimentations. Juxtaposed, confronting portraits from the Museum with portraits of people working in the Louvre. The eyes aligned at the same height, watching the visitors. As Quentin Bajac states in the text included in the catalogue, the framing is systematically frontal “to the manner of the identity portraits of those of anthropometrics.”
Moreover, the reframing on the portraits allows to keep just the essential: the face “pierced by the eyes” as we can see in his exhibition on the ancient sculpture where the view formed by two black holes would take us to other elements more mysterious and more dark symbolic.
Mimmo Jodice defines himself this project as a succession of images with a strong visual impact. The images present the protagonists of past centuries and those who in the contemporary world, through their work or their interest, are part of the Musée du Louvre or frequent visitors. “My project is thus mixing today’s reality with that of past centuries and to show in the faces of yesterday and today the same feelings as passion, anxiety, nobility, arrogance, astonishment, irony.
To photograph a painted face means to bring it to the present, to annul the time and the difference between two languages, that of the painting and that of photography.
The exhibition shows approximately fifty 60 × 100cm black and white prints.
Catalogue Les Yeux du Louvre
Publishing: Actes Sud / Musée du Louvre
Text by Quentin Bajac.
Interview by Marie-Laure Bernadac, Curator, in charge of the
Contemporary art in the Louvre.
112 pages (195 × 255mm)
“Les Yeux du Louvre”
May 19 – August 15, 2011
Sully Wing , salle de la Maquette
Open every day, except Tuesday from 9h – 18h
Nocturnes until 22h Wednesday and Friday