MUSÉE DES CIVILISATIONS DE L'EUROPE ET DE LA MÉDITERRANÉE | 7 Promenade Robert Laffont
artists & participants
13 December 2017 to 23 April 2018
The photo-novella was born in Italy in 1947. Its success was instantaneous, even surprising its own inventors. In the following years, the genre won over Istanbul, Tehran and Buenos Aires. In France, its success was phenomenal. One study estimated that 12 million French people read photo-novellas in the 1960s. And yet, photo-novellas have been criticized from all sides: intellectuals found them inane, Catholics immoral, and communists mind-numbing. Nonetheless, the photo-novella would remain a best-selling genre in popular literature for more than 20 years. The MuCEM’s exhibition presents more than 300 objects, films, testimonials, photographs and documents that retrace this unprecedented editorial saga. And, thanks to the Mondadori collection’s previously unreleased images, it reconstructs an era and its sentimental lore. Today, the soap opera Plus Belle la Vie and Voici magazine have deposed the photo-novella. But the genre is not dead; far from it. For example, the photo-novella magazine Nous Deux prints 350,000 copies each week. And the trend is spreading. This exhibition will showcase all types of creators – ranging from Duane Michals to Professeur Choron, by way of Guy Debord – who have adopted the narrative process invented by the photo-novella.
Curator: Frédérique Deschamps, journalist and picture researcher
MuCEM curator: Marie-Charlotte Calafat, Assistant Manager of the MuCEM’s Collections and Document Resource Department