Quentin Bajac by
Quentin Bajac, 2011 © Yan Morvan
A few essential facts might be sufficient to describe Quentin Bajac. Photography curator during the early days of the Musée d’Orsay, Senior Curator for the Photography Department at the Centre Georges Pompidou, professor at the Ecole du Louvre, director of several notable exhibitions and author of studies noteworthy for renewed historiography of their subjects, Quentin Bajac stands a perfect example of today’s new generation of curators.
To describe Quentin from a psychological or intimate angle is far more complicated. To avoid the inherent dangers of this type of exercise, we have decided to opt for a parable, using soccer as ground for comparison.
Like overseeing a collection or conceiving an exhibition, soccer is an enterprise that demands collective intelligence. As everyone knows, soccer is a game that opposes two teams of 11 members each, positioned in the field at specific spots, with specific roles. The technical, athletic and psychological qualities of the player will determine whether he plays as a defender, a half balk, or a forward bearing in each case a specific number. As such, the goalkeeper wears number 1, the center defenders numbers 4 and 5, center halfback number 9, and so on. But among all the various posts, there is one of particular importance. It is the player with the number 10, the creative midfielder. Without a doubt, on a soccer field Quentin Bajac would be that number 10.
Of all the players on the field, number 10 must invent the game, that explains his nickname “creative midfielder”. He has the complicated task of directing the game and passing the ball to his attackers. He must have a clear vision of the game, knowing how to eliminate his opponents by dribbling, alternating quick steps to counter an onslaught of players, long steps to change the game’s direction, or playing a deep kick to the center striker. He must also have the qualities of a kicker, who scores the goals. He also participates in defense by blocking openings, preventing opposing strikers to gain territory.
Far from the rugged defender or the crazy striker, number 10 is a true game player who must skillfully combine offensive and defensive tasks. The greatest players have worn the number 10. If today’s players tend to favor offensive attacks to the detriment of their defensive skills, Quentin Bajac definitely upholds the “old school” profile. Altruistic, intelligent, skillful, fair playing, humble, these are the many qualities one associates with such legendary players as Di Stephano, Pelé, Platini or Zidane. And if, as we think, the function of an exhibition curator is not too dissimilar to that of a soccer player, there is no doubt that Quentin Bajac will be considered one day as a player of a legend.