TOUT CE QUI EST À VOIR EST CE QUE VOUS VOYEZ (What is to be seen is what you see).
At the Rencontres d’Arles I have come to know many artists of all sorts, whose works have been acquired to enrich the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale. The governing idea of the show titled Tout ce qui est à voir est ce que vous voyez (‘What you see is all there is to see’) is to combine text and image on the same footing. The texts, numerous short quotations by philosophers and artists, are arranged in space like the ‘frozen words’ that blossom in Rabelais’s famous tale. In their own ways, they say the same thing: that words are not at all like images.
I chose the images from those by contemporary photographers which have recently been added to the collections of the Prints and Photographs Department at the Bibliothèque Nationale (BnF).
This event follows on from the exhibitions of new additions to the BnF held in the rue de Richelieu in Paris: La Photographie creative (1984), La Matière, l’ombre et la fiction (1994) and Seventies (2008), about American photography.
The present exhibition reflects a moment in the life of a collection that is open to every trend and influence. It cannot therefore have a unity of style, but presents the visual coherence of a number of chosen images.
Honorary curator, BnF
Acknowledgments: Prints and Photographs Department: Sylvie Aubenas, director, Anne Biroleau, chief curator, and François Cam-Drouhin, intern, Jérôme Lacharmoise, contract worker, Nicolas Pecquet, chief storemaster, and Damien Plantey, librarian.
Exhibition produced with the exceptional assistance of the National Library of France.