Paris is such a perfect city to have the best shots ever for the photographers. Maison Européenne de la Photographie(MEP) was first founded in 1996 in the heart of Paris as the association of Paris Audiovisuel, under the artistic direction of Jean-Luc Monterosso. With the ambition to gather unique artworks and make it as a exhibition space, now it became the temple of photography in Paris, displaying the artworks of French and also foreign artists and new emerging artists as one of the largest phorography libraries in Europe. Since May 2018, MEP is led by a new director, Simon Baker.
When we visited Maison Européenne de la Photographie in April, 2019, there are three exhibitions on. The photo collection of a Korean photographer on the 1st floor, the collection of a Chinese photographer Ren Hang on the 2nd floor, and lastly the collection of a Spanish photographer Coco Capitan on the 3rd floor.
Coco Capitan was born in Spain in 1992. As a photographer and artist, she is living and working in London now. After she studied photography in London, she even explored painting, handwriting, video, and installation art. At 26 years old, she was selected as the young art star by Gucci, and she also collaborated with many famous luxury brands like Gucci and Dior, and also famous magazines including Vogue.
This is her first exhibition in France, and you can appreciate 150 artworks of Coco Capitan. The themes of her artworks are covering her artistic inspirations and contemporary social issues, and artwors are displayed by color and theme.
She presented the pop-art using cola cans, one of the most typical icon of the consumption culture. She saw a crushed flat cola can on the street one day, and had an idea to make something normal and thrown also can be a part of art.
Coco Capitan enjoys staying home alone. She highly values the time to explore and try to know herself. The series of her portrait is the way she expresses her identity. The composition, pose, and color reflect her unique and artistic charms.
On one section, the series of photos published on famous fashion magazines are also displayed. Coco Capitan is well-known as a fashion photographer as well, showing the distinctive fashion photos from existing and typical fashion photos. She blurs the disctinction between fashion photos and art photos, and doesn't decouple art and commerce, proving herself as an artist after the pop-art generation.
Whereas most of fashion catalogues focus on logos of brands or designs of clothes, Coco Capitan rather focuses on the situation in the photo or action of models. 'Boys in Socks', which is on the third from left, is one of her famous fashion photo. When you look at this photo, you will not realize it's a fashion photo of socks, but you will rather appreciate it as an artistic photo, focusing on the action of model and laundry marks on the leg.
Another famous series, photos of Spanish Olympic swimmers. This series was designed to support the team who practice hard for 10 hours per day, 6 days per week. She is delivering her whole soul and message to support every effort of everyone who try to achieve what they dream of.
While traveling the American west in 2017, she discovered ruins, blank road signs, abandoned things on the street. Then, she got a thought that 'everything eventually disappears'. These photos show her life attitude, accepting death as a part of our lives, rather than life as a path to the death.
On the 2nd floor, you can see another artist's exhibition, <Love, Ren Hang> by Ren Hang. He is a influencial and famous artist and poet from China, and it is his first institutional exhibition in France. The color and style of photos are very distinct and impressive. His photos are mainly of himself, friends, and his mom, and most of his photos are about sexuality or death. Being known as a innovative photographer, his suicide in Beijing in 2017 gave a big shock to the world.
On the 1st floor, there is another exhibition of a Korean artist, Yoonkyung Jang. She is the winner of the 1st Dior beauty photo award held in 2018. Among more than 100 photos submitted from Korea, Japan, France, USA, and Russia, her photos were recognized by Dior. Even though her collection is not big this time, this exhibition still shows her identity as a photographer, using charming colors and showing the natural beauty of women through photos. There are some other photos as well with the background of Han River, instead of Seine River.
To help your visit more enjoyable, Maision Européenne de la Photographie has a free locker. This museum brings you peace of mind with various and unique photos. If you would like to be inspired in the Marais, visit here and recharge yourself with art and comfort they will give you.
Words and Photographs by Yuna Lee
Address : 5/7 Rue de Fourcy, 75004 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 1 SAINT-PAUL
Period : Coco Capitan March 6th - May 26th, 2019 / Ren Hang March 19th - May 26th / Yoonkyung Jang March 6th - April 14th, 2019
Opening Hours : Wed-Fri 10:00-20:00 (until 22:00 on Thursdays) / Weekends 10:00-20:00 / Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Price : Adults 10 euros / 6 euros for under 26 years old or students