Edition 2012

Isabelle Le Minh

Reality killed the cat

Legend has it that one day the great master Zhuangzi—one of the founders of Taoism—fell asleep in a garden and had a dream. He dreamed that he was a very beautiful butterfly. After flitting here and there, the butterfly also fell asleep and also had a dream. It dreamed that it was Zhuangzi. When he awoke, the master was no longer sure who he was: the real Zhuangzi or the one in the butterfly’s dream. Although the exhibition’s title is an explicit reference to the experience of Schrödinger’s cat, the title could also be ‘The Butterfly’s Dream’, because the exhibition puts reality into perspective—the reality of the image and the very nature of reality, which is what it most often questions. Here photography is no longer understood as a simple medium, a means of representing the world. It is photography, its objects, as well as the theoretical foundations of the image that are taken into consideration, extending into the digital era the path opened up in the 1970s by John Hillard and Ugo Mulas, with his Verifications series.Through numerous allusions to artists’ works (Christian Marclay, John Baldessari, Hiroshi Sugimoto), references to particle physics, Far Eastern philosophies and Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Isabelle Le Minh invites the visitor to an unconventional and self-reflexive approach to the medium. Most often operating through associations of ideas, she develops polysemous works, sometimes tinged with humour, which echo from one space to another and are marked by the resonance of words. Conceived in a way that falls more within intellectual strolling than structured analysis, the exhibition implicitly questions the limits of photography, from the ontology of the image to its founding myths and its semiotic principles, and considers it for what it also is: a cultural practice fitting within an economic reality, a technical tool that produces objects in two dimensions, a trace left on a material by a flow of pho- tons... Or perhaps just an illusion.

Bernd Soares

Prints partly by Dupon, Paris. Framing partly by Circad, Paris
Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers.
Prints partly by Dupon, Paris.
Framing partly by Circad, Paris
Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers.

  • 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