Xavier Barral, the award-wining publisher behind Éditions Xavier Barral, has died suddenly, at home in Paris on 17 February. Éditions Xavier Barral was behind books such as Antoine D’Agata’s Anticorps in 2013, a joint publication with Le Bal which won the Rencontres d’Arles Author’s Book Award; in 2015 another Éditions Xavier Barral/Le Bal co-publication, Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence by Eyal Weizman, won the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photography Catalogue of the Year.
“These documentary practices coalesced into a visual culture which, with its aptitude for capturing and transmitting collective emotions, became a tool for political propaganda,” write Hannah Darabi and Chowra Makaremi. They’re talking about the work produced in Iran in the years 1979-83, the period after the fall of the Shah and at the start of the Islamic government and a time in which freedom of speech briefly flourished, they argue, before descending into something darker.
“These few years stand out on their own in terms of the country’s publishing history,” adds Makaremi. “The creation and distribution of books would never be as unfettered as it was during this period. Nevertheless, at the same moment, books were also progressively becoming instruments of political propaganda and publishing became the laboratory in which to experiment with every form of dissemination of emotions, ideologies, and opinions. This propaganda operated through the production of texts, but also, and especially as of 1979, through visual and pictorial production.”
Darabi is a visual artist and collector who was born in 1981 in Tehran but is now based in Paris; her collection of Iranian photobooks make up the backbone of Le Bal’s latest exhibition, along with her own photographic “reconstructions”, creating using contemporary photographs of Tehran and archive images such as family snaps, press images, and postcards. Makaremi, a tenured researcher and a member of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, has “decrypted” the exhibition; in addition, Le Bal and Spector Books have worked with Darabi to create an accompanying photobook, with an introduction by Makaremi.
The director of the respected bookshop in Paris’ Le Bal gallery picks out her favourite photography and projects, including Joanna Piotrowska’s Frantic
Patricia Karallis and Giada De Agostinis from the Lucie Award-nominated Paper Journal pick out the photography and projects that caught their eye – including Dave Heath’s Dialogues with Solitude at Le Bal, Paris
Feeling all shopped out? Take refuge in a photo show – though many are being hosted by private galleries in Paris next week, meaning you can still buy prints if you want to. Photo Saint-Germain is a huge umbrella under which 36 exhibitions and events are taking place, for example, including the Polycopies and Shakespeare & Co book events and several cultural institutes, but also smaller, commercial galleries.
The biggest photo fair in Europe, Paris Photo returns from 08-11 November, with a new section on erotic images, and a walk-through focusing on female photographers.
Curated by Martha Kirszenbaum, curator of the French Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the Curiosa sector will bring together intimate images by 13 artists such as Nobuyoshi Araki, JoAnn Callis, and Antoine d’Agata. Kirszenbaum hope to challenge the viewer’s gaze on the fetishised body, and tackle “relations of power, domination, and gender issues”. “There are images not everyone would like to see, which I think is good,” Kirszenbaum told BJP in an article published in our November issue.
With so much to see condensed into one city over the course of five days during Paris Photo (09-12 November), you’d be tempted to skip round the 149 galleries lining the elegant, glass-topped halls of the Grand Palais in a couple of hours, or even miss the main event altogether, as many do. That would be a mistake. You won’t get a better snapshot of what constitutes saleable photography in 2017, from the blue-chip North American dealers such as Gagosian, Pace MacGill and Howard Greenberg, to the work of younger artists championed by the likes of Project 2.0, Trapéz and Taik Persons. And eavesdropping on the sales patter can be a real an eye-opener.
David Campany’s celebrated exhibition, A Handful of Dust, traces the 20th century history of photography through this seemingly humble substance; as the show finally comes to London, we revisit the article on it he wrote for BJP back in 2015
1. Gregory Halpern’s ZZYZX, published by Mack A book that merges documentary, portraiture and a strange heightened sense of mystery that keeps you guessing about what it is he is evoking. I think it’s a work of the imagination as much as anything: a California of the mind that carries an undercurrent of anxiety and unreality. 2. Diane Arbus: In the Beginning at The Met Breuer, 12 July-27 November Wonderfully-curated show about Diane Arbus before she became the Diane Arbus we know. Grainy photographs from the NY demimonde of Times Square peep shows and Coney Island freak shows, but also some moments of dark melancholy. You sensed very strongly from this show that she was always a loner with a camera, searching for other outsiders to connect with however fleetingly. 3. Provoke: Between Protest and Performance at Le Bal, Paris from 14 September-11 December An intriguing look at the 1960s Provoke generation that placed them in the social and political context of the time, but also within the tradition of Japanese photography and the influences …
1. Araki at Musee Guimet 13 April-05 September, and Hamiltons 27 September-22 November Not a bad 76th year. A beautiful retrospective show at Musee Guimet in Paris, as well as a striking exhibition of new work at Hamiltons Gallery in London. Araki took the opportunity of being 76 to work with a 6×7 medium format camera and made some of his best work in years. 2. Provoke: Between Protest and Performance at Le Bal, 14 September-11 December Exhibition touring Europe, currently at Le Bal. Incredibly powerful. A historic show 3. Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection, Tate Modern Curated by my colleague Shoair Mavlian. A real surprise for many visitors and a highpoint of the year for me too.One of the great private collections of modernist photography, in incredible frames! 5. All the photography in the new expanded Tate Modern It’s everywhere now! Especially happy to see Boris Mikhailov and Sirkka Liisa Kontinen in the new Switch House. Both where they belong at the heart of the collection. 4. Juno Calypso It has …