Dubuffet; photographic tool (Arles-2017)

“This exhibition is the first review of the Dubuffet Foundation’s photographic archive of the artist’s work (paintings, architectural models, or elements of the show Coucou Bazar). Since he began his artistic practice in the 1940s, Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) created a reference system for his photography. Starting in 1959, he organized a secretariat responsible for, among other things, documenting his works as they became scattered across the world. This set of several thousand images (negatives, prints, albums) is in keeping with Dubuffet’s goal of creating an exhaustive documentary archive of his œuvre, both to serve his “work in progress,” and to control for the spread of his work. The archive displays Dubuffet’s attention to the quality of the photographic reproductions, as well as the technical progress of the photographic medium itself. Photography counts among the numerous tools employed by the artist in realizing his works. A source of iconography for certain of his series, its many-faceted nature allows, among other things, for the reproduction of the same elements for use in different works. For his exhibition Édifices in 1968, he uses photomontages that integrate his architectural creations for public spaces. Photographic projection arrives in the 1970s as an enlargement procedure used to realize some elements, such as the platforms for Coucou Bazar. Finally, a retrospective organised by Fiat in Turin in 1978 broke new ground with a striking mise en scène that associated original works with bright projections by other painters. The exhibition also included a multi-projection devoted to his major work, La Closerie Falbala. “
Anne Lacoste, Sam Stourdzé and Sophie Webel


This exhibition is about the work of Jean Dubuffet, a Frenchman, who was born in 1901 and died in 1985. It is about a photographic record of his artist output made at his request. Dubuffet thought that seeing his work as a totality would help him to better understand his work although black and white was not able to catch their colour! It is an interesting use of photography. I personally find that having catalogues of my images to be very helpful not just in accessing them and seeing what I have got but for reflecting on my work.



There are photographs of Dubuffet models imprinted onto photographs of Paris to make them look like real installations. In fact, a sculpture of his is being made into a high-rise building nearby in Arles. Dubuffet did not just photograph his work, there are lots of photographs about what went on around it that include fellow participants.


One photograph of note is by Lee Miller; a black and white of Dubuffet and a friend, author Georges Limbour, close up to and looking out of a window; the photographer shoots from outside looking in. Made in 1955 in England.

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