Mathieu Pernot
The Crossing
from 11 February 2014
until 18 May 2014
Jeu de Paume, Paris

Mathieu Pernot was born in Fréjus in 1970 and he currently lives and works in Paris. After studying art history at the University of Grenoble, he enrolled at the École Nationale de la Photographie in Arles, from where he graduated in 1996. He specialises in documentary work, but offers a new take on the codes of this photographic genre and explores alternative paths to develop a multi-voiced narrative. Mathieu Pernot’s work is either organised into series – sometimes linked by their choice of characters, chronology or theme – or by his encounter with archive images. In either case, his nomadic approach to photography and choice of subject underline a desire to avoid a uniform and unidirectional narrative. His images in perpetual movement evoke a reality that is far from being fixed and unchanging.

The exhibition at the Jeu de Paume presents a selection of Mathieu Pernot’s series from the last twenty years. It inaugurates a new kind of installation, which aims to encourage dialogue between the many images and objects and takes the visitor on a journey through his body of work ending at up Le Feu, his latest piece which was produced especially for the exhibition.

Whether through his own photographic work or the use of different archive photos and documents, Mathieu Pernot questions the diversity of means of representation and the very notion of how we make use of the photographic medium.

An underlying sense of movement, of passing through or crossing over is omnipresent in his work and a recurrent element of this exhibition at the Jeu de Paume. It is embodied both in the fragile and nomadic nature of the characters his photos portray – gypsies, migrants, etc. – and the repeated presence of these same individuals throughout his entire body of work, transforming them into the characters of stories criss-crossing the passing of time.

“The Crossing“ is the concrete expression of a modern-day narrative with characters who live on the margins of the very society whose story it tells. It represents a transversal and multiform approach to the medium of photography, which is put to the test of its function and its history.

The exhibition starts with Photo Booths, Mathieu Pernot’s first series of photos, taken between 1995 and 1997, of gypsy children in Arles, ending with their portraits taken some seventeen years later, in 2013, for this exhibition. The 2001 series The Shouters, which will form the core of the exhibition, was taken between these two series and features the same characters.
The exhibition also presents works dealing with the issue of human migration (The Migrants, Giovanni, The Afghan Notebooks), town planning (Le Grand Ensemble including Implosions, The Best of All Worlds, Witnesses, Windows) and incarceration (A Bohemian Camp and Panoptic), together with an installation (Le Dortoir) and drawings (The Last Journey) that echo his photographs.
In Fire, a project created especially for the exhibition, the photographer portrays a Romany custom in which, following a death, the deceased’s caravan is burnt. As the caravan burned, he photographed people (faces we recognise from other photos in the exhibition at other moments in their lives) their faces lit by the light of the flames.

> To watch the video portrait:

> READ “Mathieu Pernot: Giving Form to History", an interview by Étienne Hatt.

The artist and Marta Gili

Exhibition produced by the Jeu de Paume

In partnership with A Nous, L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, ParisArt,
Souvenirs From Earth TV and Time Out Paris

> And also at la maison rouge, the exhibition
"Mathieu Pernot / Philippe Artières. L'asile des photographies",
13 February / 11 May 2014.
10, boulevard de la Bastille, 75012 Paris.

Also online

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