Theatre Optique

Translated title of the contribution: Optical Theatre

Aurelien Froment* (Artist)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

Abstract / Description of output

2023, installation of Pierre Zucca’s photographs, including books, lobby cards, and film posters, with photographs and a 3-channel video installation by Aurélien Froment

While film stills have been a means of promoting popular culture, and a shared point of reference for many artists, it remains a poorly known practice in the history of photography, art or cinema. Aurélien Froment brings together a vast selection of Pierre Zucca’s film stills for the first time in Optical Theater – original prints aimed at press agencies between 1963 and 1974, and their cropped and colored reproductions as lobby cards for cinema windows or film posters.
Presented in groups, these ‘single-image films’ open up plots whose resolution remains suspended in the imagination, and create a place for the film still as its own genre within the art of photography, somewhere at the intersection of advertisement, documentary and fiction.
The staged, theatrical and choreographic features of film set photography are explored with two further books co-authored by Pierre Zucca: Yoga by Image (1973) and The Living Currency (1970). While film stills contain a polyphonic cast of artistic authors – producer, writer, director, director of photography, photographer – Pierre Zucca’s photographs for books reflect the intimacy of relationships between close collaborators.
In a time when images are consumed without captions nor context, Optical Theater presents loaded images: a cross-section of the French film industry in the decade around 1968, illustrating singular stories, full of peculiar and incongruous details, revealing as much about their means of production as the aspirations and realities of a window in time. In a post-truth age, when the authenticity of the visual landscape around us is becoming increasingly unreliable, Optical Theater reminds us that images have always been manipulated to tell a story or to convey a discourse – “even in the case of the most ‘reproductive’ of photographs, say, of a wall, a sheet of paper, a molecule, or a landscape” (Pierre Zucca, Pleasure Photography, 1980).
Translated title of the contributionOptical Theatre
Original languageFrench
Place of PublicationArles, France
PublisherLes Rencontres d'Arles
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Photography, film, exhibition

Type (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Installation


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