Fondation Cartier | Raymond Depardon: La vita moderna | Triennale di Milano

Triennale di Milano

Triennale Milano e Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain


  Raymond Depardon 

La vita moderna

 15 October 2021 – 10 April 2022
Triennale Milano

From 15 October 2021 to 10 April 2022, Triennale Milano and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain present La vita moderna a solo exhibition by French photographer and filmmaker, Raymond Depardon. Bringing together three hundred photographs and two films, La vita moderna is the largest exhibition of the artist who, since the 1970s, has profoundly renewed the world of the contemporary image. Specially created for Milan, the exhibition reveals, through many of his most emblematic series, how much Italy inhabits his work.

Sharing a common vision of creation and the desire to transform the exhibition space into a place of reflection on the great challenges of our time Triennale Milano and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain have chosen, for the third exhibition in the programme, to dedicate over 1300 m2 of exhibition space to the work of a photographer-filmmaker who travels the world, through cities and countryside, giving a voice to their inhabitants and casting a humanist gaze on the world. Constantly searching for the ideal distance from them, Raymond Depardon approaches his subjects with discretion and humility, patiently building a relationship with people or places, giving a voice to those who have none, showing each landscape as the site of a human experience through the lens of a camera or camcorder. 

The exhibition La vita moderna shows the richness of Raymond Depardon’s work, the diversity of his subjects, and the coherence of his journey, through eight photographic series, two films, and all the books he has published. Borrowing its title from the film that concluded the Profils paysans trilogy in 2008, the exhibition leads the visitor through a succession of questions that run through the artist’s entire body of work: Which subjects call for colour and which call for black and white? How can the transformations of a landscape be evoked in an image? Where should the photographer stand and what is the ideal distance from the subject? How can we detach ourselves from the event to reveal the margins and borders? What is modernity in photography when you walk through a rural area or cross the streets of a post-industrial city? 

Here the dualism – between black and white and colour, between faces and landscapes, between ancestral land and modernity – does not lead to antagonism, but reveals an attention to the world, a curiosity in motion, an open approach to the diversity of our age.

La vita moderna has been specially created for the Triennale Milano with the participation of the artist Jean-Michel Alberola and set against a scenographic backdrop designed by Théa Alberola. 

The exhibition La vita moderna, is also part of a long history that has linked Raymond Depardon and the Parisian institution for almost thirty years. Founded on a shared vision of our contemporary society, its challenges and defeats, the continuous dialogue has evolved and been enriched through numerous projects: 14 solo and group exhibitions, 19 books and the production of eight films. The Fondation Cartier collection also contains 570 photographs by the artist from nine series (including the entirety of La France). Some professional engagements have opened up new geographical spaces for the photographer, such as the Amazon rainforest, for various exhibitions: Yanomami, l’esprit de la forêt (2003), which was followed in 2008 by Terre natale, ailleurs commence ici. This latter was an exhibition conceived in collaboration with the philosopher Paul Virilio, exploring the concepts of rootedness and uprooting, and the issues arising from them. The idea of the homeland, fundamental to Raymond Depardon’s entire body of work, is one of the common threads running through the whole exhibition La vita moderna