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Vancouver Art Gallery presents first North American exhibition of the photographs of Patrick Faigenbaum
Patrick Faigenbaum, Avenue Vinohradska, Prague, 1994. Silver chlorobromide print. Courtesy of the artist.
VANCOUVER.- Opened at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Patrick Faigenbaum features more than 75 photographs by the noted Parisian artist, spanning four decades of his distinguished career. Curated by Gallery director Kathleen S. Bartels and artist Jeff Wall, this exclusive presentation highlights the range and scope of the artist’s photography.

“Since the 1970s, Patrick Faigenbaum has developed a remarkable body of photographs that extend from intimate portraiture and still life to evocative meditations on contemporary urban experiences,” said Gallery director and curator Kathleen Bartels. “He situates his work within the heart of the pictorial tradition, emphasizing the expressive and imaginative powers of photography and its position within the lineages of art history. The Gallery is honoured to organize and present a survey of this important international artist’s work in North America for the first time.”

Over the past 25 years, Faigenbaum has travelled throughout Europe creating portraits of people and places, inscribing the past within his compositions. Initially trained as a painter, his photographic tableaux are infused with the artistic effects of light and shadow, texture and other visual cues that reference the histories of painting, photography and cinema. His portraits of individuals embody both specificity and distance, revealing the fleeting intimacy between artist and sitter, while his photographs of urban peripheries and rural landscapes allude to the socioeconomic changes taking place within Europe.

The artist first gained international renown in the 1980s for his portraits of Italian aristocratic families, a number of which are on display in this exhibition. By capturing the nuances of the situations he encounters, Patrick Faigenbaum creates a compelling ambience that isolates a moment outside the incessant flow of time, if only to have us acknowledge the impossibility of fully understanding the complex narratives that extend beyond each image.

“Faigenbaum works at constructing what can be understood as a ‘historically telling image’, one that reveals some substantial aspects of the national and class identity of his subjects,” said artist and co-curator Jeff Wall, “His success is apparent; he captures a strong sense of the poised aloofness and confidence of these people, characteristics for which they have been famous for centuries.”

Also included in this comprehensive exhibition are photographs of the artist’s mother, Suzanne Faigenbaum, as well as important ‘portraits’ of European cities and the people who populate them.

Patrick Faigenbaum was born in Paris in 1954 and continues to live and work there today. His works are held in some of the most important public and private collections in the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

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