Photo: Collection Michel Campeau
“NO-Foto”, Copenhagen, DNK, around 1956, anonymous
The McCord Museum will roll over as early as February, the work of Michel Campeau around analog photography. After his series The black room (2005-2010), the photographer from quebec, which only works with the digital tools, became a collector of images vernacular. He explained to us his reasons.
The exhibition Before the digital does not meet that of the corpus which are carried by the analog photography. Is it nostalgia that you devote 15 years to this theme ?
If there is nostalgia, it is constructive and dynamic, she transports me into the present. The images of The dark room, I didn’t do it for nostalgia, but as a kind of a state of the art photography at the time where everything wavers. Today, I collect old photographs. Not to photograph, it is an economy of means, but it is also a way to show that amateur photography is worth as much as the photography of art. You can find there pearls beyond belief.
The exhibition Icons of obsolescence (Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, 2013) was already focused on this work. What will be different ?
My job as a collector. My main activity, as an artist, it is the gathering of collections. It is a work of appropriation, in an echo of my own life. I created an album of family multiplied, as if, suddenly, I had found in the attics of the slides of my uncles, aunts, cousins. I actually came to photography in this spirit. In the 1970s, I collected the family albums and used. [The collection] is one of the first things the founders of my work.
You concern yourself photography analog, but you donít work in digital. How did this come about ?
I have access to all this material because the Internet, because the large merchants like e-Bay. I buy mostly slides, but it is me who scans. I assume completely the job to the computer. This is awesome, her brain remembers it better than me.
The dark room, your first digital project, occupies a special place in the exhibition ?
The break is made there, even if after I had a blip and I photographed with an analog device, of the darkrooms that we démantelait. This is a series that I developed in my kitchen, but I’ve never printed. The dark room does not occupy a special place in the expo. But yes, it has had a decisive impact personal, professional. It has allowed the meeting [with the photographer] Martin Parr, a meeting that led to a publication, and then to the expo in Arles. He opened the doors. Today, I have two calendars, one here, one in Europe. This project has changed everything.
The Michel Campeau author of images, it is finished ?
No. The only photographs that I do, that we wanted to include in the expo, I do it with my cell phone. It keeps intact my enjoyment of photography. It is not said that I would do it again no photographic projects, I have a few in mind, but my efforts have turned to the collection.
It is where, exactly, the artist at the collector ?
In the recognition. I work as [we did] with the contact sheet. Images present themselves to me and I’m trying to find the best. And the ones I acquire are my new images.
That collect you ? Is there a link that motivates your choice ?
Old photographs, almost essentially in the colour, to be a part of my novel staff. One of the projects presented in the exhibition, this is the colour photography, amateur of the 1950s. Currently, I’m working on photography, in photography, or pictures of people who are filming, photographing, projecting slides. It is a work on the gestures and the rituals specific to analogue photography. The link, it is the praise of amateur photography and the recognition of the quality of what one finds on e-Bay. There are things that are very valid that are thrown by the vendors. What you see on the sites selling online, it is a very small portion of what they have between the hands. I try to back up, reflect [this photographic memory].
Napoleon. Art, and court life in the imperial palace, MBAM, from the 3 February. The image of man, as dictated by the Home of the Emperor.
Alberto Giacometti, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, as early as 8 February. A comprehensive retrospective exhibition, welcomed in London, where she took to the skies in 2017.
Landscape : the day, Musée d’art de Joliette, on 3 February. A new installation video of Jacynthe Carrier, more extensive and more entrenched in a journey in time and space.
Starting Points, points which bind to DHC/Foundation for contemporary art, from the 20th of April. An exhibition of Bharti Kher (photo by DHC/Art), artist of New Delhi known for her appropriation of the bindi, the dot placed on the forehead in hindu religion.
To monitor also
Cards on the table, Marie-Claude Bouthillier, the Museum of contemporary art of the Laurentians, from 8 February to 8 April. A painting without limits, a key recognizable and projects surprising and inventive. An exhibition of Marie-Claude Bouthillier is always a must stop. The one that he devotes the museum of Saint-Jérôme this winter is based on an epistolary relationship maintained with the conservator of artworks Richard Gagnier. On the menu : small videos, patterns inspired by board games and, without doubt, what we divert.
Before the digital
Michel Campeau, at the McCord Museum from 16 February to 6 may.