For example, genre cinema abounds with weird works that engender certain myths of modernity. The cinematographic framework features ironic, outrageous landscapes and situations. The depiction of difference assumes all its value in this over-the-top system. Decadent characters—giants, vampires, zombies, extra terrestrials, mythological creatures, abnormal and deformed beings— move about amongst humans the best they can. Their awkward bodies are the archetypes of a continuously redefined world.
The Scary Monsters! exhibition confronts us with the idea of the norm, the relational foundations that make us part of a group or separate us from it. Eschewing the clinical process of a learned bestiary, it is based not on demonstration but on monstration. The goal is to address the visual means set up by the photographic space in order to create the monster, thereby exposing not just the gestures and the gaze the monster itself provokes, but also the gestures and the gaze that make up the monster.
The show’s approach is not limited to the contemplation of abnormality, but also asks us to visit the fringes of what tends to make us more or less human.
Marc Atallah and Frédéric Jaccaud
Exhibition curator: Marc Atallah and Frédéric Jaccaud.
The exhibition was co-produced by the Maison d’Ailleurs and the Rencontres d’Arles, with the collaboration of Jean-Marie Donat and Michel Giniès.
With support from the Swiss Confederation.
Most of the exhibited photographs belong to the Maison d’Ailleurs collection, Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, and from Michel Giniès and Jean-Marie Donat collections.
Framing by Circad, Paris