Tales of a City: Photographing Le Havre

from November 25, 2017 to March 18, 2018

From the start, the exhibition confounds us by juxtaposing Yves Bélorgey's highly photographic paintings and big charcoal drawings of Le Havre - created by invitation - with Anne-Lise Seusse's night-time photographs of wildflowers and weeds in the beam of artificial lighting on the Place Danton.
It continues with Christophe Guérin's video CROSS, paired with Lucien Hervé's highly graphic low-angle photographs of the post-war reconstruction Immeubles Sans Affectation Individuelle with their interplay of jutting lines, convex and concave, light and shade - and Xavier Zimmermann's kaleidoscopic views. Via contrasting moods and angles, the city is constructed and deconstructed, then pieced together again.

In the second part of the exhibition borrows its approach from fiction. A series of photographs by Véronique Ellena, Sabine Meier, Olivier Mériel, Bernard Plossu, Matthias Koch, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Manuela Marques and Charles Decorps are arranged around Rebecca Digne's video SEL (Salt), another invited work, which captures a strange choreography on Le Havre beach, and Corinne Mercadier's equally mysterious photographic triptych. Outdoor and indoor scenes, fragments of public landscape and private spaces tell a story in themselves. By night or by day, inhabited or deserted, they reveal a particular mood or an unusual light. Fleeting presences or people encountered are captured as they engage in activities whose purpose escapes us or disconcertingly banal domestic or social activities such as reading a newspaper or having a drink in a café.

Views of the exhibition

Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Exposition « Comme une histoire... Le Havre ». © MuMa Le Havre / Juliette Houliere
Sometimes one photograph seems to lead into another as in the nursery rhyme "For the want of a nail": one of Lucien Hervé's pictures naturally follows on from a photograph by Plossu.

The exhibition beckons visitors to join in a game of Fox and Geese with a map of Le Havre as the board and a series of still photographs as the squares. Players are encouraged to visit the exhibition in whatever order they please and let their imagination finish the stories the artists have begun, just as Dana Levy's film, screened at the end of the exhibition, transforms the Ship-owner's Mansion into a private house and the curator into a strange Hitchcockian Vestal Virgin keeping watch over the objects in her care and finally fleeing over the rooftops.