Nothing is left to chance in Arno Gisinger’s Topoï. The book is not merely illustrative or informative. It is not just an inventory or a chronological catalog. Rather, Topoï deciphers and reveals the foundations of the photographer’s work, thanks to a team who is perfectly familiar with it.
Rarely do so many talented minds gather around a single artist. Many photography books focus on the reproduction of images while the text remains obscure or empty. This isn’t the case for Topoï. The book is a History lesson that should be studied by future graduates students.
The work of Arno Gisinger is not decorative and has little interest in provocation. It is not easily accessible. “Topoï” means “places” in Greek, and the term defines the oeuvre of Gisinger, who in this collection establishes a connection between, “photography and historiography, while exploring a new way to write history.”
In Faux terrain, Gisinger questions the way we see a panoramic painting representing a battle. As Clément Chéroux explains in his analysis, Gisinger places himself at the heart of a mechanism, a history painting, to demonstrate that History and its representations are constructs.
Gisinger’s installations are stagings of History, its traces, witnesses, and the way we interpret them. The photograph of a chair on the cover of Topoï is no ordinary chair. Gisinger selected it for his work Dies ist der Stuhl für den Paten. The seat is covered in Hebrew inscriptions. It was one used to perform circumcisions, and was one of the many objects looted during the war. For Gisinger, photography “replaces the lost object, which represents the history of the Jewish community.”
This exhibition has to be seen. The book is different. It demands more effort, imagination, reading, and a little more time.
Arno Gisinger: Topoï
Editions Trans Photographic Press & Bucher
20 x 31 cm, 336 pages
500 colors and B&W photographs
French / German
ISBN : 979-1090371-16-3
Arno Gisinger: Topoï
From January 19th to March 31st, 2013
Centre photographique d’Ile-de-France
107 avenue de la République
77340 Pontault Combault
Wednesday - Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday - Sunday 2pm - 6pm