Mathieu Pernot





all images from the series: The Migrants, 2009
color photography,  95 × 135 cm
courtesy of the artist and Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris

The Jeu de Paume in Paris is showing The Crossing, a selection of photographs by MATHIEU PERNOT (b.1970). For the last 20 years, the French photographer examines and documents the lives of people living on the margins of society. Whether he is working with migrants, prisoners, inhabitants from high-rise estates, gypsies or demolition sites, PERNOT questions the status of images and the way we look at them.

For the series The Migrants (2009) MATHIEU PERNOT photographed Afghan migrants very early in the morning, near a square where they gather in the 10th arrondissement in Paris. Created quickly, between daybreak and the usual intervention by the police, the images show the ghostly presence of clandestine people in the city. Invisible and silent, reduced to the condition of simple forms, they rest and seem to hide, as though they wish to isolate themselves from a world that no longer wants to see them.

I was moved by the presence of those “repressed” by history, by these figures of an inverted globalisation. I was confused by the ambiguous beauty of forms bringing back those of another History. I thought that the best picture to take would be one during their sleep, an elsewhere that we will never know, and which surely constitutes their last escape. I didn’t want to wake them up. I didn’t see anything of the migrants / I didn’t see migrants at all. – MATHIEU PERNOT

The Crossing is currently on view at Jeu de Paume Paris and is running through May 18, 2014. Additionally the Maison Rouge in Paris is showing L’asile des photographies, an exhibition for which MATHIEU PERNOT and PHILIPPE ARTIERES, historian, were invited to work on the archives of Le Bon Sauveur psychiatric hospital in Picauville, Normandy.

MATHIEU PERNOT was born in Fréjus in 1970 and he currently lives and works in Paris. After studying art history at the University of Grenoble, he enrolled at the Ecole Nationale de la Photographie in Arles, from where he graduated in 1996.

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