Wednesday, 15 May 2013

More Images of the Paris Commune, an old exhibition

Here are some boards from the fifty or so that I made for an exhibition I made, in the very early 80s I think, for the Portsmouth City Gallery. It was an attempt to make a narrative out of image collage and juxtaposition, using as few words as possible, but plenty of written archive material, police reports and so forth, that normally remain the historian's secret. I wanted to dramatise the gestures of class struggle and social conflict and also to figure PARIS AS THE CITY ELECT OF URBAN MASSACRE, as well as most aspects of the Commune that were then historiographically current. 

This has much in common with the history from below movement in France and the work of Alain Dalotel and Jean-Claude Freiermuth, as well as, more ambivalently, Les Revoltes Logiques. Necessarily it was a bit more workerist than that and maybe more inspired by Lucien Descaves novel Philémon, vieux de la vieille. I'll scan some of these materials too in the near future.

All of this was made from my own slides, negatives or positives, often taken in quite perilous postures in archives and libraries and I printed all of it, apart from the small colour images, on different weights of Kentmere paper in the Fine Art Department darkroom. I loved this endless artisanal work and the rough feel of the display gave some sense of the difficult conditions of the survival of these bits of paper.  

The last two show some of the work of Gaillard and his son, with some pages from Gaillard's pamphlet on foot-shaped shoes, police reports and then, below, from shoes to Barricades, that Gaillard authored just as he had authored the gutta percha boot!

the enemies of the Republic, documents listing silver carried by Napoleon 111's defeated army and items from the Exposition... with satire, Victor Hugo

The Club movement of the late Second Empire and Commune, the upper image of the board immediately above is from a series of 16  unedited journalistic drawings in the BHVP, above Gaillard fils journal, see older posts on my blog for better definition.
 The image of the workers at the Exposition Universelle and as Criminals after the Commune

the Siege, famine, the middle class woman as christian charity

satires of priesthood

politics and photo-reportage

Petroleuses, club women, less than human, ready to die..

Death to, death of...

The Vendôme column, Courbet, Napoléon, Armould's signing of the decree of demolition

Thiers in three cartoons by Gaillard fils (my hero, if ever I were to queer the Commune it would start with him,,,,), below two more by him, Thiers and the Plutocracy, Thiers and Prussia

Aide memoir and repetition of images against rulers.. below, images of the end, the rag-picker as collector of the waste of the slaughter..

Here is a short note made fore a Centre Cath conference at Leeds some years ago where I opened for myself the question of queering the Commune, the lecture, in French, at the Centre Pompidou, where I do set out from the drop of cum can be found at, but no Commune Ha!

it is the fourth, all worth watching:

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