Exhibition Christian Milovanoff
from November 1, 2007 to January 21, 2008
For the past four years, the Louvre has invited a contemporary photographer to present his or her work in the museum. This year’s guest artist is Christian Milovanoff, professor at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie, Arles.
Milovanoff has chosen the museum’s Department of Near Eastern Antiquities as the focus of his attentions, concentrating in particular on works from Ancient Persia and Mesopotamia. This work thus allows the artist to reconnect with his earlier studies on the history of art, the documentary form, appropriation and montage.
Between 1980 and 1986, Christian Milovanoff shot forty-five black-and-white photographs for a series entitled The Louvre Revisited. For this first experience at the Louvre, the artist had decided upon a quasi-archaeological approach to photographing painted works, limiting his frame to fragments of canvases. Now, some twenty years later, Christian Milovanoff has turned his gaze to Near Eastern antiquities, a period he has not previously explored.
His first project in this spirit was a series of detailed views of Assyrian bas-reliefs (lions, human figures, writing) at the British Museum. The Louvre then decided to invite the artist to continue his work by wending his way through the extensive galleries of its own department devoted to this period.
For this new series, entitled " Suites ", Christian Milovanoff records details of Near Eastern bas-reliefs and sculptures: hands, feet, cuneiform writing, decorative motifs. His work enhances our appreciation of the fascinating iconology, mythology and history shared by the prestigious Near Eastern civilizations from the 5th to the 1st century B.C. The captions on the photographs specify the geographic locations of the works. This information reminds us of the upheavals currently plaguing these regions.
The originality of Christian Milovanoff’s approach is based on a tight framing of shots not centered on the main subject. The artist captures gestures, symbols and rituals. Through this process, he invites us to consider the work from another angle, to displace our point of view, thus instilling objectivity. The presentation of the photographs in the exhibition is sequential, inspired by the principle of the frieze. While certain motifs are repeated in binary or ternary patterns, the framing of the shots shifts laterally on a constant basis. These images therefore call to mind the photographer’s roll of film as well as the filmmaker’s reel. Amidst this presentation, the role of the visitor is implicitly assimilated with that of a film editor. " Suites " is the logical extension of the explorations carried out by Christian Milovanoff since 1980. Comprised of some twenty color photographs, this series enacts the encounter between art of antiquity and contemporary art, at the intersection of several disciplines: photography, painting, sculpture and film.
Exhibition curators :
Marie-Laure Bernadac, assisted by Pauline Guélaud.
Practical informationSully Wing, Salle de la Maquette
1 November 2007 - 21 January 2008
Admission included in the ticket to the permanent collections.