The Hungarian photographer André Kertész (1894-1985) whose career spanned more than seventy years is featured with an important retrospective of his work at Paris’ Jeu de Paume (until February 6, 2010). He is one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, both for the richness of his body of work and for the sheer longevity of his career. This is the first proper retrospective of his work in Europe, even though he donated all his negatives to the French state.
The exhibition brings together a sizeable ensemble of prints and original documents covering the various periods of Kertész’s life revealing how Kertész developed a genuine poetics of photography. With a chronological and linear exhibition layout reflecting the various periods of his creative life, the exhibition presents thematic groups highlighting the unique aspects of his output: his personal photography (the photographic postcards, the Distortions), his involvement in publishing (the book Paris vu par Kertész, 1934) and his recurrent creative experiments (shadows, chimneys).
Here we discover some previously neglected periods (his time as a soldier between 1914 and 1918, the New York period and the Polaroids of his last years). In particular, it highlights the beginnings of photojournalism in Paris in 1928, and the dissemination of his photographs in the press. Thus numerous copies of magazines are presented (Vu, Art et Médecine, Paris Magazine).
Kertész considered himself an amateur in the best sense of the word taking his pictures with emotion and passion. “I never document,” said Kertész, “I always interpret with my pictures. This is the great difference between me and many others… I interpret what I feel in a given moment. Not what I see, but what I feel.” Between 1912 and 1985, Kertész remained true to his approach even though his style changed and circumstances were providing new vantage points (From My Window would be the title of one of his books): “I have never just ‘made photos,'” he said, “I express myself photographically.”
jeu de paume, 1, place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, métro Concorde