by Claire Monneraye
Wednesday 17 December 2014, 6.00 AM getting off the plane at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France. Night-time, 1 degree and slightly raining. This is what winter looks like in Paris… After warming up, I was eager to see what the 'Mois de la Photographie' (Month of Photography) had left to see...
Polka Galerie is one of the go-to photographic commercial galleries in Paris. Founded in 2007 by Adélie de Ipanema and Edouard Genestar, Polka Galerie focuses on documentary photographic works that are often subtly politically engaged and always beautifully crafted. They represent Gilles Caron, Françoise Huguier, Toshio Shibata, Elliott Erwitt, Alexander Gronsky, William Klein, Marc Riboud and Sebastião Salgado amongst many others. They also edit the wonderful Polka Magazine.
I was fortunate to see the exhibition Sebastião Salgado curated by Wim Wenders before it closed. The show marked the release of the film The Salt of the Earth, the stunning documentary about the legendary Brazilian photographer by the equally legendary director Wim Wenders and Salagado’s son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. It received the ‘Special Prize’ (Un Certain Regard) at the 2014 Cannes Festival. The exhibition presented fifteen significant images of Salgado selected by Wim Wenders. This small show had not any other pretention than showing the friendship between two of the greatest image-makers. The modest display gave an intimate and very accessible feel to these iconic works.
I was especially thrilled to discover the works of Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre in their new exhibition Industry. Their stunning images investigate industrial ruins as an obvious symbol of our modern societies and urban changes. Like cathedrals abandoned to nature, they embody the fall of an era. They no longer belong to the present but uncannily seem to be floating between a too recent past and a fictional future. These photographs are not only the visual documentation of a world that has ceased to exist, Marchand & Meffre’s paradoxical sci-fi sceneries speak to our consciousness about our relation to time and ephemeral imagination.
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Check this out:
Installation shots are Courtesy and © Polka Galerie
Image 3: Sebastião Salgado, Korem camp, Ethiopia, 1984. Courtesy Polka Galerie. Courtesy and © the artist
Image 4: Sebastião Salgado, Antartica, 2005. Courtesy Polka Galerie. Courtesy and © the artist
Image 6: Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre, Cooling Tower, Power Plant, Monceau-sur-Sambre, Belgium, 2011. Courtesy Polka Galerie. Courtesy and © the artists
Image 7: Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre, Control Room, Kelenfold Power Station, Budapest, Hungary, 2012. Courtesy Polka Galerie. Courtesy and © the artists
Image 8: Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre, Boiler Room, Rosario, Argentina, 2014. Courtesy Polka Galerie. Courtesy and © the artists
Image 9: The cover of Polka Magazine #28