In conjunction with the opening of Marc Pataut. First Attempts, the galleries of the exhibition will play host to a conversation between the artist and Jorge Ribalta, the show’s curator, on photography as an instrument for capturing life at its most vulnerable and precarious, and as a public service and a form of institutional critique. Other issues addressed will include the ethics of representation of the disadvantaged subject and, ultimately, the reasons why photography remains pivotal as an artistic practice of the real.
Since the 1990s, Marc Pataut (Paris, 1952) has shaped a collaborative practice that reinvents the traditions of 1930s social documentary and post-war humanist photography. He is no longer merely a social mediator between the most disadvantaged and the public sphere, his work arising from the co-existence with the collectives represented, prolonged through the action of giving and sharing the camera (with child psychiatric patients in the Aubervilliers day care hospital, or with the homeless people for the paper La Rue, for instance). Pataut’s work is concerned with critical and revised humanism, perhaps “perverted”, but not devoid of melancholy — even nostalgia — and contradictions.
Marc Pataut. Photographer. He studied at the École de Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he has taught since 2001. Pataut left photojournalism to one side after a spell with Agencia Viva in 1980, before most notably working on collaboration projects in the 1990s, participating in collectives like Ne Pas Plier — which sought to provide “political and aesthetic means” to movements involving vulnerable and unemployed people — and on the alienation of the former miners in the reconverted region of Nord-Pas de Calais. His exhibitions include Ne Pas Plier (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1995), documenta X (Kassel, 1997), Des Territoires (École de Beaux-Arts, Paris, 2001), Universal Archive. The Condition of the Document and the Modern Photographic Utopia, (MACBA, 2008) and Terre (with Gérard Paris-Clavel) (Centre régional de la photographie Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Denain, 2008).
Jorge Ribalta. Historian, artist and photography theorist. He is the curator of the exhibition Marc Pataut. First Attempts (Museo Reina Sofía, 2018), and his other exhibition projects include Not Yet. On the Reinventio n of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism (Museo Reina Sofía, 2018), I Work the Street. Joan Colom, Photographs 1957–2010 (MNAC, 2013–2014), The Barcelona International Centre of Photography (1978-1983) (MACBA, 2012), and A Hard, Merciless Light. The Worker Photography Movement 1926–1939 (Museo Reina Sofía, 2011).