The exhibit “After Eden,” currently at the Maison Rouge, is a fascinating exploration of paradises lost.
The exceptional collection of Artur Walther, the former banker who is passionate about contemporary photography, is now on display at the Maison Rouge.
At once concentrated and eclectic, “After Eden” regroups over 800 historic, contemporary and ethnographic photographs that present the world as a paradise lost.
Punctuated by various recurring themes—the countryside, portraiture, the city, identity, otherness—the exhibit turns the spectator into an explorer of deserted stretches of Africa (captured by David Goldblatt) or brute, menacing nature (the series As Terra do Fim do Mund by Jo Ractliffe). The relationship between man and these post-apocalyptic environments are foregrounded in the series Faces and Phases by the photographer and militant African Zanele Muholi; in photojournalistic works by Guy Tillim; and by Rotimi Fani-Kayodé’s representations of sexual and cultural transgressions in Nigeria. In this exhibit, contemporary African photography becomes a tool of activism and engagement.
This intense exploration, which brings us from Germany to America andAsia, examines the darker sides of human nature, the cause of mankind’s fall and our arrival in our current post-Eden. This is forcefully illustrated by the erotic images (by Nobuyoshi Araki and Daido Moriyama) that close out the exhibit. Here man is a voyeur in perpetual search of transgression; a perverted Adam who will never reach salvation.
“After Eden,” the Walther collection, is at the Maison Rouge (10 Bd de la bastille, Paris XII) from October 17 to January 17, 2016.
By Chloë Fage
Every Moment Counts de Rotimi Fani-Kayode.