MONTRER L’INVISIBLE (SHOWING THE INVISIBLE)
‘The eyes and ears of philistines are poor witnesses,’ wrote Heraclitus nearly two thousand and five hundred years ago. In other words, it takes more than eyes to see. This book, Montrer l’invisible (‘Showing the Invisible’) seeks to teach the reader, at the heart of our society of the spectacle, to follow with the greatest attention the path that images take inside us, and to wager that this path will lead us to better understand the strange familiarity that binds us to them. For Curnier, images are a mode of thought that thought itself, which is based on language, cannot recognise, enslave or domesticate. The image, he holds, is what reconnects us to the world when the false transparency of words distances us from it—resuscitating the sense of its closeness and, in a way, adding to reality the sense of its reality.
Translated excerpt from the presentation of Jean-Paul Curnier’s book Montrer l’invisible: Ecrits sur l’image, published by Editions Jacqueline Chambon in February 2009.
Images are the backdrop to this book. Taken from photography, film and painting, they are the memory on which Curnier bases his thinking; the foundation which his arguments confront. This idea behind this exhibition? That a book about imagery should show some of the media it is built around. Here, the choice and juxtaposition of the images stems from the writing, which provides the linking thread. Indeed, it is accompanied by books, in a sort of cluttered miniature bookshop, that we see these images (of Marilyn Monroe, Ramses II, the protesting mothers on the Plaza de Mayo and veiled women in Afghanistan; but also pictograms of films, The Battleship Potemkin and Pierrot le fou, images of gestures captured in Assyrian murals and from the arirang, or living pictures, of North Korea, those of National Socialist Party rallies, reproductions of Diana bathing and of Lascaux cave paintings, photographs of a bullfighter at death’s door, etc.); and they are presented in the most diverse forms.