Reflet de 1968, Culture et vie quotidienne – Spirit of 1968, Culture and Everyday life”

2008

Exposition Reflet de 1968, Culture et Vie Quotidienne à la Galerie Le Pictorium (Paris 11ème)

Soixante-Huit, un nombre, un mot, qui relève à la fois de l’histoire et du mythe. Et qui reste, quels qu’en soient les véritables acquis, un repère essentiel  dans l’évolution de nos comportements, des rapports entre l’individu et la société, des aspirations politiques, morales, culturelles – par-delà les révisions hostiles qui ont fleuri ces dernières années.

Pendant les fameuses manifestations parisiennes, les photographes étaient nombreux sur le devant de la scène. Mais un juste reflet de l’époque ne saurait se limiter à ces reportages, ni aux Évènements, comme on disait, ni aux formes les plus spectaculaires de la révolte. Philippe Gras est de ces photographes qui ont su saisir non seulement l’instant et le geste, mais le signe et le sens de cette période d’innovations et de contestations.

Tant dans le regard porté sur les avancées de la musique, qui privilégie le mouvement spontané où s’exprime la nature profonde de l’artiste, que dans l’observation de la ville, de la rue, du décor urbain, des comportements humains, ses photos témoignent de ce qui bouge. Il montre ce qui surgit là où on ne l’attendait pas : non seulement les fameuses affiches militantes et les slogans, mais aussi la critique de la société de consommation, le rejet et la subversion du discours publicitaire –  en particulier dans une tentative d’inventaire des graphismes du refus. Son approche est dépourvue de toute hiérarchie a priori, et il s’est passionné autant pour les expressions populaires et les arts mineurs que pour les créations artistiques admises, légitimées, ou en devenir.


The exhibition “Spirit of 1968, Culture and Everyday life” took place at the Gallery Le Pictorium in Paris.

1968, or, as the French say, « Sixty-eight » : is a number, a word pertaining to History and Myth. Whatever the concrete results of the events related to it, this date remains a milestone in the evolution of collective behaviors, of relations between individuals and Society, in the transformation of political, moral, cultural expectations. And this remains true in spite of all hostile interpretations of this period which have flourished in recent times.

During the famous demonstrations then taking place in the streets of Paris, many photographers were present in the front line. But for an in-depth understanding of this period, these reports do not suffice, nor the descriptions of the Events, as people used to say, nor even a presentation of the most spectacular forms of this popular revolt. Philippe Gras is one of the few photographers who have been able to capture not only instants and crowds in motion, but also the general direction and meaning of such a period of innovations and protest.

The way he looked at the progress of musical creation, the way he captured the spontaneous gestures expressing the deep nature of artists, the way he looked at the city, at its streets, at the urban environment, all of this testifies of the importance for him of Movement. He was able to show things coming up in unexpected times and places. This is true of the political posters and slogans of the period, of all forms of criticism against a society driven by consumption, of the rejection and subversion of advertising. He aimed at putting together an inventory of all graphic expressions of refusal. His approach was free of hierarchical prejudices. For his work during this very special period, Philippe Gras will indeed be remembered as an artist able to immerse himself in popular ways of expression and in arts classified as minor as well as in artistic creations already endowed, or at least potentially endowed, with legitimacy and recognition.

Daniel Sauvaget