The Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition, a pioneer of modern photo-reportage, opened on Tuesday at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMVI) in Rabat, with photos retracing the greatest moments. Of the history.
According to its initiators, this exhibition, which takes place from November 24 to February 21, 2022, brings together more than 130 photos taken between 1926 and 1978, delivering an “intimate vision and iconic moments by navigating between reality and moments taken on the sly “.
The exhibition is presented as a historical journey through the highlights of Africa from the 1920s to the liberation of Paris, through the victory of the Chinese Communists and the famous portrait of Ghandi, a few hours before his assassination, or even the Russia after Stalin’s death. “On this day, the MMVI opens an exhibition of one of the greatest photographers, that of a man who sculpted the gaze of the camera through images taken instantly, converting them into works of art”, the president of the National Foundation of Museums of Morocco (FNM), Mehdi Qotbi, told the press.
Henri Cartier-Bresson is one of the precursors of the enhancement of the photographic image, of which he was able to draw the portrait in his own way, like stolen moments, he said. Same story with the artistic director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson and curator of the exhibition, Agnès Sire, for whom the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson have been installed in a setting that meets all international standards museums, in this case the MMVI.
She said that this photo exhibition is produced in the form of gelatin silver prints, a practice that hardly exists today.
Henri Cartier-Bresson’s exhibition was conceived at the end of his career as a photographer, when he wanted to turn to drawing and painting, she said, adding that this photo-reporter , as he liked to define himself, went to Africa for a year, carried by a somewhat anarchist philosophy, without really knowing what he was going to do. “He came back with the idea that finally the photography was good,” she noted.
“This refractory to any order, known to be a pile of nerves, was a privileged witness of history”, she continued. For his part, the director of MMVI, Abdelaziz El Idrissi, recalled the context of the realization of this exhibition, which “corroborates and crowns all the activities organized by the FNM on the theme of photography”.
According to him, the exhibition of the most emblematic photos of Henri Cartier-Bresson is a new challenge for the MMVI, which positions itself as a major player in the cultural scene, and notably adds to the exhibitions “The Moroccan painters in the national collections, from Ben Ali R’bati to the present day ”and“ Gharbaoui: The flight of the roots ”. Born in 1908 in Chanteloup-en-Brie (Seine-et-Marne), into a family of major textile manufacturers, Henri Cartier-Bresson is the eldest of five brothers and sisters. In 1926, he took private lessons with the painter Jean Cottenet and also painted regularly with Jacques-Emile Blanche, a close friend of Marcel Proust. In the fall, he joined the academy of painter André Lhote, which he left at the beginning of 1928.
Quite a bad student, but very keen reader, Cartier-Bresson frequented the surrealists and created the Magnum Photos agency (with Robert Capa and David Seymour), to then become one of the pioneers of photo-reportage. In 2000, he decided to create the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation with his wife and daughter. He died in August 2004 in France.