Steven Pippin: Aberration Optique
Jun 14 – Sep 11, 2017

The digital revolution was on its way when Steven Pippin made a name for himself in the 1980s with his proto-photographs taken with everyday objects transformed into cameras. Cupboard, fridge, bathtub, he could use almost anything, even a photobooth, whose self-containedness make it for him the perfect example of a “bachelor machine”.

 

 

In 1993, with a certain degree of contortion, he turned a train lavatory into an improvised studio and darkroom for the duration of the journey from London to Brighton, for a work entitled The Continued Saga of an Amateur Photographer. In 1998, he was continuing his experiments in a San Francisco laundromat when it occurred to him to shoot a series of images of a person walking along the line of washing machines – an homage to Muybridge, the Englishman who emigrated to San Francisco and who there, in 1878, arranged twelve photographic cameras in line to analyse the movement of a galloping horse. Pippin then recreated Muybridge’s experiment in riding a horse through the laundromat. For this series, called Laundromat Locomotion, the washing machines used as cameras also served to develop the images.

Pippin is not the only artist to be interested in archaic techniques of photography, but he has given his project an epic aspect. For him, the result is not as important as the process, which breaks down the boundary between artistic product and document – a boundary that is becoming questionable in photography, where in the age of contactless technological reproduction the distinction between copy and original is disappearing. Pippin is not at all an amateur photographer, but he plays the role of slave to his passion: he is more than anything a performer. The work constitutes an extraordinary narrative and presents photography itself as a spectacle. The (mis)use of everyday objects does not distinguish Pippin from the many other artist-engineers who have made their appearance since the advent of modernism. Its role here is to designate the invention of photography as an achievement open to all-comers, while turning it into a domestic epic robs it of drama.

 

Editions Xavier Barral Co-published with Éditions du Centre Pompidou. 304 pages. Texts by Steven Pippin and Frédéric Paul. The publications of the Pompidou Photography’s Gallery exhibitions receive the support of the Fondation d’entreprise Neuflize OBC. This monograph is also supported by the Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin.

After his exploits with the laundromat, Steven Pippin turned away from photography for ten years, before setting off in pursuit of the instantaneous image. It was a violent homecoming, the series A Non Event recording the destruction of cameras as a gun is fired at them at point blank range. The first of these were again produced in the United States, and Pippin recalls how, while he was on his way to Las Vegas, he had to show his driving license to buy a beer, but once he was there he didn’t have to show anything to buy the bullets he needed for the project, the friendly salesperson even trying to sell him a gun! The exhibition features photographs, cameras devised or modified by the artist, and other equipment used in making the work.

 

Steven Pippin: Aberration Optique
Curated by Mnam / Cci, Frédéric Paul.
June 14 – September 11, 2017 / Centre Pompidou
Visit the exhibition page >

Our 5th Year Anniversary
ARTPIL / Prescription .129
We are rounding out our fifth year with nearly 3 million visits strong. A very exciting journey it has...
+
Fly in League with the Night
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Each painting is made from a composite archive of found images supplemented by her own imagination, rendered in expressive,...
+
World Press Photo 2022
Winners & Exhibitions Announced
Providing a variety of perspectives from all corners of the globe, the 2022 World Press Photo Contest awarded works...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .128
100 Days into Ukraine
More terrible is love in Kyiv than magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies fly light and maculate into bright tapers. Dead...
+
Venice Biennale / 59th Edition
Apr 23 – Nov 11, 2022
The 59th edition takes its title from a book by Leonora Carrington in which the Surrealist artist describes a...
+
ARS22 / Living Encounters
Apr 8 – Oct 16, 2022
Art has the power to investigate society and present alternative interpretations of our shared world. The featured works raise...
+
Robert Rauschenberg: Japanese Clayworks
Apr 8 – Jul 9, 2022
This comprehensive exhibition brings together rarely seen artworks of Rauschenberg's series using a newly developed technique that combined ancient...
+
Sunset on Ukraine
September 2022 / Snoeck
My earliest memory of Ukraine is like a snow globe where a simple shake spreads the tiny sequins into...
+
Our 5th Year Anniversary
ARTPIL / Prescription .129
We are rounding out our fifth year with nearly 3 million visits strong. A very exciting journey it has been, indeed.
+
Fly in League with the Night
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Each painting is made from a composite archive of found images supplemented by her own imagination, rendered in expressive,...
+
World Press Photo 2022
Winners & Exhibitions Announced
Providing a variety of perspectives from all corners of the globe, the 2022 World Press Photo Contest awarded works...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .128
100 Days into Ukraine
More terrible is love in Kyiv than magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies fly light and maculate into bright tapers.
+
Venice Biennale / 59th Edition
Apr 23 – Nov 11, 2022
The 59th edition takes its title from a book by Leonora Carrington in which the Surrealist artist describes a...
+
ARS22 / Living Encounters
Apr 8 – Oct 16, 2022
Art has the power to investigate society and present alternative interpretations of our shared world. The featured works raise...
+
Robert Rauschenberg: Japanese Clayworks
Apr 8 – Jul 9, 2022
This comprehensive exhibition brings together rarely seen artworks of Rauschenberg's series using a newly developed technique
+
Sunset on Ukraine
September 2022 / Snoeck
My earliest memory of Ukraine is like a snow globe where a simple shake spreads the tiny sequins into...
+