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Avant l’avant-garde

Clément Chéroux

We have a tendency to believe that photographic experiments such as collages, rayograms and overimpressions started with the Dada and Surrealist movements, that the big leaders were Man Ray, Raoul Hausman or Georges Hugnet. Actually, as this book - illustrated by ill-known and many anonymous images - shows, all types of experiences were carried out long before Breton’s friends came to be. Portraits with two heads, mirrors that deform images, spectres, photomontages, fantastic post cards, photographs taken at country fairs: there was more than enough typology. Of course, the years between the two mars were a golden age, given the close mingling between photography and literature. The "photographic amusement" at the time attracted painters such as Brauner or Magritte as well as well-known professionals like Cartier-Bresson or Berenice Abbott. Today, the extreme ease with which images are manipulated and transformed seems strangely enough to have led photography into a certain phase of sterility, even if certain artists like Plonk and Replonk brilliantly maintain the practice.

Avant l’avant-garde, by Clément Chéroux, Textuel, 2015, 288 p., €69.

Avant l’avant-garde - Clément Chéroux

Review published in the newsletter #406 - from 12 November 2015 to 18 November 2015

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