Michel Houel­le­becq, Pho­to­gra­phic Lan­ding

Art Press - - MOIS DE LA PHOTO -


In ad­di­tion to wri­ting, Michel Houel­le­becq has al­so been bu­sy of late ma­king films ( La Pos­si­bi­li­té d’une île is his first fea­ture film, made in 2008), ac­ting (in 2014, L’En­lè­ve­ment de Michel Houel­le­becq by Guillaume Ni­cloux and Near Death Ex­pe­rience by Be­noît De­lé­pine and Gus­tave Ker­vern), and now as a pho­to­gra­pher, with Be­fore Lan­ding at the Pavillon Car­ré de Bau­douin (No­vem­ber 12, 2014–Ja­nua­ry 31, 2015). Cu­ra­ted by pho­to­gra­pher Marc La­thuillière, whose own work ex­plores the mu­seu­mi­fi­ca­tion of France, this ex­hi­bi­tion is al­so a dia­logue ex­plo­ring the French he­ri­tage and its tou­rist ter­ri­to­ry. Houel­le­becq’s pho­to­graphs were first ex­hi­bi­ted at the Bi­blio­thèque Na­tio­nale de France as part of art­press’s for­tieth birthday bash. Fi­nal­ly, as for the day job, Houel­le­becq’s next no­vel is due out this Ja­nua­ry. “It goes back a long way, the pho­to­gra­phy,” Houel­le­becq told me du­ring our in­ter­view, which was more a sur­vey of his ar­tis­tic work ge­ne­ral­ly than a com­men­ta­ry on his ex­hi­bi­tion. His pho­to­gra­phy can­not be un­ders­tood apart from the wri­ting. “I al­ways take pho­tos when I’m wri­ting, I stick the images ona­wall and I look at them. But the text I pro­duce is ge­ne­ral­ly ve­ry dif­ferent.” The ex­hi­bi­tion af­fords ac­cess to the pro­cess of wri­ting it­self. Mu­ral se­quences are edi­ted like se­quences of a film or land­scapes; do­cu­men­ta­ry views and text col­lapse in­to each other. “Be­fore, I ne­ver thought that an ex­hi­bi­tion could be a form. I wan­ted to create dis­tinct spaces, like lit­tle blocks of nar­ra­tive, be­cause I have long had this ob­ses­sion with connec­ting texts and images.” The ex­hi­bi­tion can the­re­fore be seen as a li­te­ra­ry ins­tal­la­tion or a book in the pro­cess of being com­po­sed. On one of the walls, a frag­ment of text, ac­com­pa­nied by pic­tu­resque land­scapes, is wi­thin view of more hu­mo­rous pho­tos of the Ca­mem­bert Mu­seum. “I stop­ped at the Re­lais des Mille Étangs, just by the Châ­teau­roux exit and I bought a double-cho­co­late co­okie and a large cof­fee at La Crois­san­te­rie, then I got back be­hind the

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