Luc Delahaye and Laura Henno in COLLECTION : 150 photographs from the Bachelot collection

Villa Médicis, Académie de France in Rome, Italy 7 October 2022 - 15 January 2023 
This autumn, the French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici is pleased to present its exhibition COLLECTION, which showcases Florence and Damien Bachelot's photograph collection.
 
The exhibition will display a unique set of almost 150 photographs covering a century of image history, within the intimacy of the human condition. From Brassaï to Sabine Weiss and from Diane Arbus to Mitch Epstein, the itinerary provides an in-depth reading of the history of photography, focusing on human beings and their relationship to their environment; here the vibrancy of cities and the solitary poetry of portraits are juxtaposed.
 
The exhibition offers a dual perspective: the personal narrative of the collectors, Florence and Damien Bachelot, throughout 20 years of coherent acquisition, and that of its curator, Sam Stourdzé, through a selection of prints in which the photographer's eye acts as a seismograph of historical events and intimate narratives.
 
The exhibition covers the two great transatlantic traditions: from early 20th-century "humanist" photography to American street photography. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis join Dave Heath, Helen Levitt and Robert Frank.
 
An extraordinary set of almost 40 original prints by Saul Leiter's bear witness to a change of direction - along with the transition to colour - towards the second half of the century, and a shift in photographic influences. The images focus on American counter-culture and the reversals of a modernist utopia.
 
Finally, the exhibition explores the beginnings of modern reporting, with Gilles Caron, up to the documentary portraits of contemporary photographers such as Luc Delahaye, Mohamed Bourouissa, Véronique Ellena and Laura Henno. The ancient cistern of Villa Medici will host a focus on the work of Laura Henno, between photographs and films.
 
Between contrasts and connections, the Bachelot collection exhibition at Villa Medici takes a look at the history of photographic influences and examines the way in which portraits and bodies frame the city and divide up urban areas and everyday spaces in which human figures always provide the scale. It is also a portrait of the development of a couple of collectors and of a vision that combine the vintage with the contemporary. 
 
The texts that provide the exhibition's historical and aesthetic perspective were produced by the photography historian Michel Poivert.