Exhibitions


La contemporaine, Nanterre (FR)   19 January 2022 - 7 May 2022

Élie Kagan,
Photographe indépendant 1960-1990

For its inaugural exhibition in the building designed by the Atelier Bruno Gaudin on the Université Paris Nanterre campus, La contemporaine pays tribute to Élie Kagan (1928-1999), a socio-politically engaged photographer and formidable archivist of his epoch. The exhibition makes use of over 200,000 images – negatives, prints, contact sheets and slides – accompanied by professional archives, entrusted to La contemporaine in 1999 by the photographer’s family.

Curators: Cyril Burté (La contemporaine, Nanterre, France) et Audrey Leblanc (EHESS-INA, Paris, France)

Self-taught, passionate about social and political events, and intentionally provocative, Élie Kagan photographed meetings, protests, cultural events, and political gatherings. His production constitutes a historical and visual archive of the political, intellectual and cultural life in France from the 1960s to the 1990s. A committed photo reporter, he extensively covered the demonstrations that were so frequent in his day, and was one of the few to record on film, images of police violence against Algerian protestors on 17 October 1961.

The exhibition shows the daily life of a photo reporter from the 1960s to the 1990s, but also showcases a photographic material influenced by its use and circulation: magazines, press, reviews, posters, books and brochures. The exhibition focuses on the different interpretations of Élie Kagan’s work by focusing on its reception, from his activist production to photographs invested with a memorial intention. It also allows viewers to discover a little-known dimension of his work. A witness of his time, Kagan liked to stroll through the streets of Paris, where he captured the urban and sociological transformations then underway. It is this existential relationship to photography that emerges: a way of living, day-to-day, nourished by the encounters, difficulties and surprises of everyday life…


Work on loan

Gérard FROMANGER
Le Voyou
1971