The Jeu de Paume will be dedicating an exhibition to Marc Pataut's visual study on the human condition across the social landscape from 1981 to present day in the showcase Marc Pataut: Proximities starting 6 June running through 22 September.
Born in Paris, 1952, Marc Pataut's early ventures with photography began when he taught himself the medium at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris under the sculptor Étienne-Martin. Pataut took after Martin's aesthetic principle and soon devoted himself to making photographic essays about the human condition in the context of society and politics.
Pataut started his socio-photographic experiments when we went to Aubervilliers Day Hospital in 1981 and worked as a "nurse-photographer". He gave a group of children suffering from psychotic disorders some cameras. From their work, Pataut discovered a new way of seeing portraiture and a new photographic language. Pataut said:
“I understood that a portrait was not only a face, that photography involves the body and the unconscious, something other than the eye, intelligence, and virtuosity. The work at the day hospital taught me that you can photograph with your belly, that the portrait is the relationship between bodies – how I place my body in space faced with another body, at what distance.”
Pataut then began to take a series of photographs of his own stomach, eleven close-ups that expressed the violence suffered by other bodies. He then presented this series into two forms – on billboards and in frame prints in Le Blanc-Mesnil and the town hall respectively. His series Mon corps was also made, a series made of several random images. These three make up most of the display.
The artist also collaborated with Gérard Paris-Clavel in which they founded the Ne Pas Plier, an association for the struggle against the neoliberal society and the advertising culture through the use of rallies, photographs and words across the public space, Pataut and his company.
The show also features Pataut's experiments with portraiture with his series Aulnay-sous-Quoi? (1990-1991), a project which he produced with 5th-form students from Aulnay-sous-Bois (north of Paris), Emmaüs (1993-1994), Humaine (2009-2012) and lastly Figurez-vous...une ronde (2012-2016). Pataut also photographed the inhabitants of the wasteland Cornillon and the site of the future national stadium Saint-Denis.
Making plans to visit this showcase? Don't forget to use the official hashtag #MarcPataut. For more information and details about the exhibition, visit the Jeu de Paume's website.
Images are from the press kit.