Ziad Antar: Au Hasard de la Pellicule, Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône

15 February 2014 - 18 May 2014

The photograph is a matter of intent. It is believed that the photographer has control from shooting to printing. But what happens when the original film is obsolete? In 2000, Ziad Antar began using black and white film. He unearthed rolls of film that had expired in 1976 in the legendary Scheherazade studio of photographer Hashem El Madani, also from Saida in Lebanon. The camera he uses for this series, entitled Expired, is itself old, a Kodak SLR from 1948. The subject however, is of the utmost contemporaneity: buildings synonymous with modernity, grandiose architectural gestures, such as the Queensboro Bridge in New York or the world’s tallest man made tower, the Burj Khalifa I, in Dubai. The artist works quickly; he photographs as he walks, then develops the roll of film. The picture that emerges is often blurry; the film is covered with marks or stains that create different patterns each time. This process distances Ziad Antar more and more from a classical documentary approach. By using this material from another era, whose result comes close to what could be considered a failed photograph, Ziad Antar raises questions about the genesis of an image, its own qualities, or flaws, and what makes a picture worthy of value.

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