Interview of Lucien Clergue
In 2014, for Lucien Clergue’s 80th anniversary, we wanted to put things in order, bring the reading of his photography back to its essential elements and sort out the stories he recounts with such loquaciousness, in order to accompany them.
The nudes which made him famous rest alongside fragile scenes where he projects his own bruises through images of children in ruins, animal cadavers, or abstract and ephemeral drawings in sand. Violence, like passion, are all too real in his photos of corridas or the juxtapositions that he creates in museums. His photographic practice, initially intuitive, was vindicated, when he was barely twenty years old, by the words and the perspectives given to it by the masters Lucien chose: Picasso, Cocteau, Saint John Perse… They lent him support, put him in touch with people and gave him self-confidence.
This boldness which allowed him to meet these great artists was also that which constantly enabled him to move ahead, and to also create a peerless event: the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, the first festival in the world devoted to photography, an annual and generous digression, created at a time when exchange and sharing, like creativity, were unbridled.
It is through these men and women, who were decisive encounters in his career and life, that we wanted Lucien Clergue to tell us about himself in an exhibition laid out in a radical fashion, where his life story accompanies a limited selection of his work.
Artistic direction and interview: François Hébel
Executive production: Anodine
The men and women of Lucien Clergue at the Atelier de Chaudronnerie, Rencontres d’Arles 2014.