Arles 2022: Jacqueline Salmon: The blind spot


This exhibition, whose title “l’angle mort” refers to Mariotte’s blind spot (the only place on the retina that does not see), is the culmination of unprecedented research conducted by photographer and visual artist Jacqueline Salmon on a central object and yet very absent from research in art history: the perizonium.

Attached to the figure of Christ, this loincloth is both a veil of modesty, a representational issue for artists and a precious relic for the Church. But by retracing the different ways in which it has been drawn, painted or sculpted over the centuries, it also proves to be a tremendous revealer of the artistic and religious mentalities of Western societies vis-à-vis the representation of the Christic body, both human and divine. . From Gothic Germany to Renaissance Italy passing from Flanders to Spain of the Golden Age, the imagery of the perizonium has been codified by theology, but it has also sometimes been influenced by civil fashions. . – like the subligaculum, a typical undergarment of Roman antiquity – or was invented from scratch by artists, who provided countless ways to drape it. Some painters thus invent widely copied designs, such as Giotto, who introduces transparency, or Rogier van der Weyden, whose perizoniums stand out from Christ to become flying draperies. Some, like Michelangelo, will go so far as to suppress it. As for the artists of the 20th century, they oscillate between taking up drawings from the past and personalizing the subject to the extreme, like Chagall, who diverts the Jewish prayer veil to cover the hips of Christ, or Picasso, who replaces the loincloth. by the cape of a bullfighter.

Despite the major questions it raises, the perizonium still constitutes a “blind spot” in iconographic research, almost a non-subject, less commented on than on the other elements of the scenes of the Passion: the position of the body of Christ, its stigmata, the characters that surround it, the variety of their expressions, the way in which the blood flows, etc.

By constituting and using her camera empirically, a vertiginous set of photographs on the perizonium (photographs that she took in situ in museums, galleries or in the archives of antique dealers), which she completed By collecting numerous reproductions of works in books and on the Internet, Jacqueline Salmon travels through the History of Art from the 11th to the 20th century and offers what stands out as the most advanced iconographic research ever carried out on the perizonium.

Above all, she poses the photographer’s gaze as the cornerstone of research and makes framing and composition a tool of dissection that she places at the heart of photographic practice. Finally, it renews the exercise of photography of works of art, which is not considered here as a tool of reproduction, but as a medium of interpretation in its own right.

The exhibition

Initially scheduled for 2020, the “Le point blind” exhibition has benefited from two additional years which have allowed Jacqueline Salmon to further enrich the already rich corpus of her perizoniums. Today, the selection of works in the exhibition has around 230 prints.

The first part of the exhibition is a series of 14 photographs – fortuitous echo, but not devoid of meaning, of the 14 stations of the Passion of Christ – which come to insinuate themselves into the permanent collections, maintain temporally, stylistically, or simply aesthetically with paintings by Jacques Réattu, sculptures by Germaine Richier and Ossip Zadkine, drawings by Pablo Picasso and Pierre Buraglio.

The second part is devoted to the heart of the research. Organized by period and manner of draping, the journey begins with the oldest representations of perizoniums, still very much influenced by the Byzantine icon, to end with the reinvention of the subjects of the Passion by 20th century painters (Bacon, Sutherland , Rouault, Chagall). It is punctuated by the artist’s photographs, presented individually or in the form of clouds of images, as well as his precious study notebooks, which constitute the matrix of the exhibition and the accompanying book.

Biography of the artist

Born in 1943 in Lyon, Jacqueline Salmon lives and works between Paris and Beaujolais. She has devoted herself to photography since 1981, developing a work whose main subject is the study of the relationship between philosophy, art history and the history of places, through the prism of photography. In 1993, she won the Villa Medici prize outside the walls for her project Entre center et absence.

She has produced numerous works in collaboration with philosophers and writers such as Hubert Damisch, Jean-Louis Schefer, Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Michel Poivert or Jean-Christophe Bailly. She has curated exhibitions and was, with Françoise Morin, artistic director of the Urbi & Orbi biennial in Sedan, on the theme of photography and the city.

Interested in pedagogy, she has also taught at the University of Paris VIII and in the schools of architecture of Saint-Étienne and Lyon, where she is regularly invited for workshops and seminars.

In addition to the photographic commissions carried out within the framework of exhibitions or residences, she has also produced permanent installations within the framework of the 1% artistic for the library of Vercors in Die, the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs Rhône-Alpes in Lyon or the Courthouse of Melun.

She has long been represented by the Michèle Chomette gallery and is now represented by the Éric Dupont gallery in Paris.

The catalog

Jacqueline Salmon. The blind spot
Co-published with the Réattu museum, SilvanaEditoriale publishes on the occasion of the exhibition a book relating, like an atlas containing 963 illustrations organized in the form of montages by type of drapery, the research carried out by Jacqueline Salmon on the perizonium.

Preface by Patrick de Carolis, Mayor of Arles; preface by Andy Neyrotti, curator of the exhibition, and Daniel Rouvier, chief curator and director of the Réattu museum; introductory text by Sébastien Allard, chief curator and director of the paintings department of the Louvre Museum; essays by Jean-Christian Fleury, art critic specializing in photography, and Guy le Gaufey, psychoanalyst.

Size: 305 x 230mm
Pagination: 304 pages
Number of illustrations: 963
Publication: July 2022
french edition

Jacqueline Salmon. The blind spot. Perizonium: study and variations
July 2 – October 2, 2022
Opening on July 2, 2022 at 12 p.m.

Andy Neyrotti, head of the study, conservation and dissemination of the collections of the Réattu Museum

Reattu Museum
10 Grand Priory Street
13200 Arles, France


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