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21 July 2010

A journey through the photography collection of Marin Karmitz


A man of pictures if ever there was one, Marin Karmitz—filmmaker, producer and creator/director of the MK2 cinema network—is primarily known for his passionate bond with the moving image. It is less well known that Karmitz, who during his period of political activism was also a photographer, has compiled an outstanding collection of artworks that remains his ‘secret garden’: an utterly original collection of photography.

It primarily comprises coherent and copious sets that reflect his loyalty to artists whose creative movement he passionately follows and fosters. The collection does not fit the artificial distinctions between ‘art’ and ‘documentation’ that have poisoned perceptions of photography for so long. And so, quite naturally, Christer Strömholm rubs shoulders

with Christian Boltanski, Antoine d’Agata converses with Chris Marker, Annette Messager meets Johan van der Keuken, and Anders Petersen and Abbas Kiarostami are neighbours of Gotthard Schuh and many others. But the constancy of his friendly attention to bodies of work in progress does not exclude instant attractions for isolated pieces that echo his aesthetic and ethical concerns—those of a man who lives daily with the images he has acquired. Kertèsz, Doisneau, Brassaï, Michael Ackerman, Larry Fink, Douglas Gordon, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Shirin Neshat, Miroslav Tichy combine wonderfully in a vision concerned as much with people, feelings and time as with the sincerity informing the creative process. And, though uncalculated, there are numerous—and certainly essential—echoes of the cinema.

A collection, in the generous gesture of sharing that a public exhibition involves, is also a way of revealing and narrating oneself. And of confiding, too? Without a doubt. But here, there is no narcissism, just the affirmation of a choice, of a way of perceiving and seeing.

On such a journey one strives to respect and highlight each artist and stage—where each retains their singularity and independence while, at the same time, helping to inform and affirm an overall perspective.

Christian Caujolle, exhibition associated curator.


Exhibition venue: église des Frères Prêcheurs, Rencontres d’Arles 2010.