1 July - 22 September
Sergio Larrain moved through the photographic universe like a meteorite. His concern for purity and the appeal of meditation led him to isolate himself, after many journeys, in the Chilean countryside, where he lived a self-sufficient life and taught yoga and drawing. From here he wrote an enormous amount, concerned with raising awareness about humanity’s sad state and inciting people to take action to improve it.
From the end of the 1970s on, his practice was limited to a few satori, pure moments of bedazzlement, which he published in several small books. For a long period, Sergio Larrain rejected the idea of an exhibition of his work during his lifetime, because the media coverage necessary for it would force him out of his hard-won isolation.
However, at the end of his life he accepted, and it is hence with the full agreement of his children that this retrospective is able to take place. Agnès Sire, the director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, curated the exhibition. She corresponded with Larrain over a period of 30 years and, along with the Magnum teams in Paris, to preserve his work.
The exhibition retraces his entire career, from his early apprenticeship years through to the ‘Magnum years’, from his documentary images to the freer images of the satori and drawings that punctuated his whole life. Sergio Larrain had a keen eye, freed from conventions. ‘I can give form to this world of fantasies when I feel certain resonate inside me,’ he wrote in his book El Rectángulo en la Mano (1963). This social and poetic approach made Sergio Larrain a brilliant photographer, who remains a model for future generations.
A major book has been published by Éditions Xavier Barral.
This project is supported by the National Council of Culture and Arts in Chile and the Minister of External Relations in Chile through the DIRAC.
Exhibition organised by Magnum Photos in collaboration with Veronica Besnier and coproduced by the Rencontres d’Arles with Marseilles-Provence 2013.
Prints by La Chambre noire, Paris.
Framing by CIRCAD, Paris.
Exhibition venue: Église Sainte-Anne.
From Monday 1st July to Sunday 1st September
10 am - 7.30 pm
Portrait of Sergio Larrain : Sergio Larrain/Magnum Photos.
Born in 1931 in Santiago, Chile.
Deceased in 2012 in Tulahuén, Chile.
Sergio Larrain became an independent photographer after a family journey through Europe and the Middle East. He spent a year in London, from 1958-1959, and, after meeting René Burri and Henri Cartier-Bresson, he joined Magnum Photos in 1960. He carried out a number of reportages for the agency. Once back in Chile, Valparaiso, where he took many photographs, became the focus of his entire attention. Here he produced, with the poet Pablo Neruda, a major photographic essay Valparaiso, which was published thirty years later on the occasion of his exhibition at the Rencontres d’Arles in 1991. In 1999, after several exhibitions were presented around the world, he withdrew from the art scene and its accompanying media coverage. Living in isolation since the 1970s in his house in Tulahuén, in Chile, he died there on 7 February 2012.
Agnès Sire, exhibition curator.