press release

Anonymous. Urban Life in Contemporary Photography

To what extent do modern cities accommodate people as individuals? It is often said that today’s big cities are anonymous, swarming human masses in which individual citizens drown. However, the isolation within the mass of urban anonymity varies greatly. While it can be an excluding factor when the city does not want to recognize the individual – too poor or too different – it also offers millions of people the freedom to live in harmony side by side. Curated from the Musée de l’Elysée’s collections, this exhibition explores various contemporary representations of anonymity in the city and its consequences on the human figure. Throughout its history, photography has studied city life, of which it forms a central part.

These days, photographers rub shoulders with urban anonymity every day, revealing its great complexity through their multiple interventions. Thanks to various formal devices, photography allows us to understand certain aspects of this anonymity – from the indistinguishable crowd to the most marginalized people, from standardized groups to anonymous heroes. Seriality, out of focus, black and white, digital manipulation or the form of photojournalism enable each photographer to accentuate certain characteristics, making it hard to resist offering a brief photographic lexicon of city life. A printed guide has been published for visitors to accompany them through the exhibition and so that they can continue thinking about it after they leave.

Featured artists
Anoush Abrar, Kristoffer Axén, Julien Benard, Kevin Bubriski, Marco Bohr, Stéphane Couturier, Luc Delahaye, Miklos Gaál, Lena Gomon, Nadja Groux, Raphael Hefti, Aimée Hoving, Valérie Jouve, Jonas Karlsson, Thomas Kern, Richard Kolker, Cyrille Lallement, Elisa Larvego, Floriane de Lassée, LawickMüller, Steve McCurry, David Molander, Suzanne Opton, Nicholas Prior, Frédéric Sautereau, Andrea Star Reese, Alexey Titarenko, Mieke Van de Voort, Maurice Vouga, Su Sheng, Hans Wilschut, Carlin Wing, Pablo Zuleta Zahr

Curator Pauline Martin, Musée de l’Elysée