Edition 2023

Nicole Gravier

Myths and Clichés

Abandoning traditional art practices in the 1970s, Nicole Gravier explored photography as a tool to analyze and decode anonymous, popular, or everyday images such as photo booth portraits or postcards, first in France and later in Italy.

New mass media imagery coming from television and magazines led to her ironic take on the art world and on the female condition in work such as Mythes & Clichés, her series of pastiches of Italian photo-stories in which she placed images of herself.

Oscillating between conceptualism, witty pop art, and autobiographical fiction, Nicole Gravier developed a unique œuvre in the context of the political and social transformation affecting Italy, and Western societies in general, during the 1970s.

For several decades now, her work has benefited from a re-examination within the framework of a feminist rereading of 20th-century art. This exhibition draws upon archival documents and unpublished works to rediscover aspects of Nicole Gravier’s career and œuvre of the 1970s–collages, photo installations, and publications–currently little known to the general public, but illuminating the new uses of photography and the career trajectories of post-WWII female artists.

The exhibition is the result of a dialog, developed during a 2022–2023 educational and curatorial project, between the Arles-born artist and a group of six students of the École National Supérieure de la Photographie: Emma Cazeneuve, Loïsà Gatto, Gabrielle Lubliner, Gabriel Seidenbinder, Eliot Stein, and Morgane Ubaldi, under the guidance of Damarice Amao, lecturer in history of photography at the ENSP and associate curator at the Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Damarice Amao

Note: The exhibition’s original title, Mythes et Clichés, involves an untranslatable double meaning. Cliché, in French, means not only a stereotyped, much-repeated expression or idea, but also a snapshot–from the clicking sound of the camera’s shutter.

Curator: Damarice Amao and the students of the École National Supérieure de la Photographie, Emma Cazeneuve, Loïsà Gatto, Gabrielle Lubliner, Gabriel Seidenbinder, Eliot Stein et Morgane Ubaldi.

Exhibition coproduced by the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie, Arles and the Rencontres d’Arles.


  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture