A speculative history of the last century, taking dust as its motif.

From the 16th of october 2015 to the 31st of january 2016
Le Bal Paris


Curated by David Campany

Dust – unwanted, inevitable, destructive – is the great suppressed substance of the modern age. The world of order and hygiene attempts to banish dust yet it will always return.
The exhibition takes as its starting point two significant events that happened in Europe in October 1922. In the Parisian journal Littérature, Man Ray published his photograph of dust gathering on the surface of Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass (where it was title ‘Vue Prise en Aeroplane’); and in the London journal The Cirterion TS Eliot published his modernist masterwork The Waste Land containing the immortal lines:

‘AND I WILL SHOW YOU SOMETHING DIFFERENT FROM EITHER
YOUR SHADOW AT MORNING STRIDING BEHIND YOU
OR YOUR SHADOW AT EVENING RISING TO MEET YOU;
I WILL SHOW YOU FEAR IN A HANDFUL OF DUST.’ T.S. ELIOT

Carleton E. Watkins, Yosemite Falls, View from the Bottom
Carleton E. Watkins, Yosemite Falls, View from the Bottom, Yosemite, ca. 1878; gift of Helen and Charles Schwab through the Art Supporting Foundation
From this beginning the exhibition takes in aerial photography, forensic photography, abstractions of landscapes, ruins, postcards and press photos of the American dust storms, artists’ videos, film clips, documentary photography and site specific works, featuring artists like Man Ray, John Divola, Sophie Ristelhueber, Walker Evans, Mona Kuhn, Aaron Siskind, Gerhard Richter, Xavier Ribas, Nick Waplington, Eva Stenram, Georges Bataille, Jeff Wall, among others.

Extract taken from LE BAL and written by David Campany

Une empreinte se révèle quand on la saupoudre d’un mélange special. November 7, 1923. Photo de presse. © Unknow Photographer
Une empreinte se révèle quand on la saupoudre d’un mélange special. November 7, 1923. Photo de presse. © Unknow Photographer
Sophie Ristelhueber
Double page extraite du livre Fait: Koweit 1991, Éditions Hazan, 1992 © Sophie Ristelhueber