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11 August 2010

Camera Lucida(sa), Note(s) on Photography

A proposition by the Musée Nicéphore-Niépce in Chalon-sur-Saône, and On-Situ.

As times change, a museum devoted to photography has a mission to record shifts in a way that is unyielding to nostalgia and dissects photographic acts, facts and gestures. We all take photos: it is a practice we think we know and understand.

And because this originally improbable image, this supposedly mundane and obvious act, is right in front of us, we do not see it. In this domain, nothing is given away and everything is hidden.

The history of photography as applied to the museum—a legacy of incomplete, groundless, technical discourse—does not involve spectators. It delivers schizophrenic statements and addresses the device enthusiast or the aesthete without establishing links. Photography and art are deliberately confused.

To give an account of Nicéphore Niépce’s invention and its many consequences, one must reposition spectators before the photographic object, enabling them to judge for themselves the aspect, material and content of photographic images. And as this sequence of disparate objects (device, image, printed spread, studio collection, lenticular network, etc.) does not speak—they take a malicious pleasure in keeping their secret—we owe the visitors explanations that they are entitled to expect.

François Cheval, exhibition curator, director of the museum Nicéphore-Niépce, France.

Curators: François Cheval (Musée Nicéphore Niépce), Julien Roger and Jean-Michel Sanchez (On-Situ). Assisted by Christelle Rochette and Jean-Marie Picard (Musée Nicéphore Niépce), Antony Charmoillaux (On-Situ).

Acknowledgements: Véronique Bédouin, Bruno Bernard, Émilie Bernard, Anne-Céline Besson, Sylvain Besson, Yves Chane-Kane, Mathilde Cuvelier, Emmanuel Durand, Fabien Durand, Emmanuel Fournier, Sonia Floriant, Michel Frizot, Agnès Gallot, Adrien Gardère, Sébastien Goude, Audrey Hoareau, Tamou Lacour, Michel Le Petit Didier, Érika Lamy, Rémy Malin, Thomas Muller, Damien Paillot, Didier Quilain, Kim Timby, Claudio Todeschini, Emmanuelle Vieillard, Vasken Yéghiayan.

The Musée Nicéphore Niépce and On-Situ (a company based in Chalon-sur-Saône) have been experimenting for more than ten years with spectacle-based forms to explain photography.Camera Lucida(s) is a selection taken from a larger ensemble on display at the Musée Nicéphore Niépce in Chalon-sur-Saône.

The Musée Nicéphore Niépce is supported by Olympus France and BMW Group France.

Exhibition venue: palais de l’Archevêché, Rencontres d’Arles 2010.