To the Gates of Paradise! A photographic essay on immigrants, nomads, exiles, refugees and the stateless, will open tomorrow, Friday, June 3rd, at the Sala Sur of the Centro Cultural Conde Duque, and can be visited until next September 4th.
Currently, two groups whose destinies are linked have gathered at Europe’s borders: immigrants and photographers. The former are seeking to escape poverty, war or repression. The latter persevere in their ability to offer significant or relevant images to the world.
The photographers participating in To the Gates of Paradise! A photographic essay on immigrants, nomads, exiles, refugees and the stateless are Peter Knapp (1931), Mathieu Pernot (1970), Antoine D´Agata (1961) and John Batho (1931). They aspire to contribute their unique testimony and to renovate, from the outside, the creation of an “engaged” photography.
The show also features an historical section that contrasts the work of these contemporary photographers with a group of 20 stereoscopic glass plates from the collection of the Musée Nicéphore Niépce (Chalon-Sur-Soane, Francia) of the Brigade des Gitans à Dijon, taken between 1905 and 1910.
This section also includes a selection of French magazine (Vu, Match and Regards…) that show the exodus of Spaniards to France during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
The show was curated by François Cheval and Audrey Hoareau and features the four photographers mentioned above: Peter Knapp from Switzerland, and Mathieu Pernot, Antonine D’Agata and John Batho, all from France.
Historian and ethnologist, François Cheval is director of the Musée Nicéphore-Niépce where he has curated more than a hundred themed photography exhibitions, by both classic and emerging artists as well as group shows. He has participated in various symposia on photography and has curated other international important shows, such as that dedicated to André Steiner at Moscow’s Multimedia Art Museum. Among his publications, highlights include: Monumentalbum, un projet de Joan Fontcuberta et autres expériences hors les murs du musée Nicéphore Niépce, Éditions Le Bec en l’Air, 2014 y L’impossible musée de la photographie: l’ère des collusions, Exposition et médias : photographie, cinéma, télévision, éditions L’Âge d’Homme, 2012.
After studying Communication and Exhibition Techniques, Audrey Hoareau began her career at the Musée Nicéphore Niépce in Chalon-sur-Saône in 2004. She has done various studies on stereoscopic and industrial photography and contemporary collections. She collaborates with François Cheval in organizing diverse themed exhibitions, such as the retrospective dedicated to Peter Knapp in 2008 and a show by André Steiner in 2011. In recent years she helped organized the International Photography Festival in Lianzhou, China in 2012.
Peter Knapp was born in Bäretswil, Switzerland in 1931. He discovered photography while studying at the School of Decorative Arts in Zurich, where he apprenticed in the workshop of Monticelli (from 1948-1951). He has worked as a graphic artist for Poul Marquet, as art director for Nouveau Fémina and for Elle magazine, where he realized his first fashion shoots and photojournalism.
Closely linked to the fashion world, in 1974 he held his first important solo show in Bâle, Switzerland. Since then he has shown his work on a regular basis. His interest in contemporary art led to his being becoming editor of a collection of works for the Pompidou Center in 1981.
Mathieu Pernot lives and works in Paris. He works in the field of documentary photography; an approach that strays from traditional protocols with the aim of exploring alternative formulas and creating a narrative through diverse voices.
His work can be found in prestigious international collections. He has received various awards, including the Nadar Prize in 2013 and the Niépce Prize in 2014.
Born in Marseille in 1961, Antoine D’Agata enrolled at the International Center of Photography in 1990, studying with Larry Clark and Nan Goldin among others. He is currently on the roster of the prestigious Magnum agency, where he has also collaborated with their publishing unit. His work has been shown internationally in important group and solo shows, apart from having directed numerous shorts and one feature-length film. In 2001 his book Hometown won the Niépce Prize for young photographer. Since 2005 he has traveled and worked throughout the world, and currently has no permanent residence.
John Batho has been a professional photographer since 1961. In 1977 he won the Kodak Prize for photography criticism, followed by exhibitions and publication in numerous international media outlets. Among the former were shows at the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art (1977), the Fratelli Alinari Museum in Florencia (1987) and the Musée Niépce (2000 and 2001).
Along with his artistic production, Batho has held a position as professor at the University of Paris VIII (Department of Fine Arts) and at the National School of Art in Dijon. His work is found in many public and private collections in both France and abroad.