With renovations soon closing the institute until 2024, the gallery displays its third exhibition series
Titled Perspectives, the Lille-based Institut pour la Photographie’s third program of exhibitions is devoted to looking forward. “This series is very different from the first two,” Anne Lacoste, gallery director explains. The 10 exhibitions – all simultaneously on display – are the last series of shows before the Institute’s renovations are completed in 2024. “Perspectives sees a change of subject and direction for us,” Lacoste explains.
Forging new perspectives requires an understanding of history. This is reflected in a new exhibition, curated by Carole Sandrin, Rosalie Varda, and Sherine El Sayed Taih, in which the rarely seen photographs of French filmmaker Agnès Varda are displayed. The first room showcases photographs Varda created between 1949 and 1954, while her contact sheets, plans, test prints, and negatives are presented in the second. “We all know Varda as a filmmaker, yet we rarely see her as a photographer,” Lacoste says. Varda passed away in 2019, and her photographic archive was donated to the Institute, a collection Lacoste deemed essential to display. Alongside Varda’s own archive, two other exhibitions delve into collections donated to the Institute; Bettina Rheims, curated by Sandrin and Gabrielle de la Selle, and Jean-Louis Schoellkopf, curated by Lacoste with Sandrin. “When you can see the photographers’ archive, their creative process, selections, edits, plans, the art itself becomes enhanced,” Lacoste explains.
Found off-site in the neighbouring city of Roubaix, Moroccan artist Yassine Alaoui – also known as Yoriyas – presents installations and performances ruminating on urban space and his life in Morocco. Currently in residence at the Institute, Yoriyas has collaborated with local parkour organisation ParKour59, using his breakdancing background to deliver group performances on the streets of Roubaix and Lille. “One of our goals is to invite people to Lille, to give us a new look at our day to day life and environment,” Lacoste explains. Yoriyas’ project forms a bridge between France and Morocco, meditating on the two cultures.
Elsewhere, the importance of vernacular photography is highlighted by a new exhibition focusing on the family photo album. Around A Family Album, curated by Lacoste and Marion Ambrozy, traces the history of the family photo, social codes, and the “collection of gazes” found across domestic photography in the first half of the 19th century. “The greatest strength of photography is its ability to connect with anybody; we all carry a camera now,” Lacoste says. “The family portrait holds messages about what family unity should look like, and when we look with a critical lens, there is so much information we can draw from that.”
With its free program, the Institute’s latest exhibition series focuses on the different genres of the photographic medium, and how each of these work together to create a wider image. The exhibition roster has been curated collectively, with each room blending into the next through a shared understanding and united direction. “For us, this is a chance to show our change in perspective, and to give a taste of what’s to come once we return,” Lacoste says.
Perspectives will be on display at the Institut pour la Photographie from 08 October to 05 December 2021. The full programme can be found here.
Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.