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Home Exhibitions Central European House of Photography Bohemians from Montparnasse 21.2. - 1.4.2018
Bohemians from Montparnasse 21.2. - 1.4.2018

Bohemians from Montparnasse. Photo Portraits By Jean Cocteau And Veno Pilon

In his series of photographs from 1916 Jean Cocteau, notorious French writer, filmmaker and artist, recorded one of the afternoons spent with very distinctive bohemian figures of Paris' Montparnasse district, including people such as Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani and Max Jacob. Supposedly, Cocteau asked Picasso right on this day to design the visuals for his piece co-written with Erik Satie, entitled Parade, which was later performed by the Russian ballet with huge success. These photographs from were shot intuitively during that day in Paris, a city barely 100 kilometers behind the front lines of the World War I, became valuable historical document of the period when Paris was still undoubtedly the centre of the artistic world and the city where many progressive minded figures lived and worked. The most notable thing is the amateur and spontaneous nature of the photos. The viewer can glimpse into an afternoon shared by friends, where the participants are also significant personalities for French avant-garde. Jean Cocteau's photos constitute probably the first art collection that wishes to recount a story beyond the goal of documentation, so they could also be viewed as key frames of a movie.


The exhibition that will take place at Photon Gallery will be quite exclusive as it will be only the fourth time the audience may view this epochal series, third time in Europe. The other actuality of this exhibition is the fact that the current exhibition also addresses the 100th anniversary of this event. The series of photographs was discovered by Billy Klüver, the founder of E.A.T. Archive, New Jersey, which is also the lender institution of presented materials.

The photographs of Cocteau will be confronted by the works of his contemporary, Slovenian artist and photographer Veno Pilon who after serving in Austrian-Hungary army during the World War I settled in Paris in the late 1920s. Veno Pilon was one of the ambitious newcomers to Paris and he quickly became integral part of the art scene. Pilon, initially a painter, continued painting for couple of years but then he simultaneously switched to photography. In 1930’s he created a series of portraits of artists such as De Chirico, Rodchenko, Zadkine, Campigli, Lhote and de Pisis. He was particularly known for photographing artists and their work in Montparnasse, usually in their studio environment. Pilon’s paintings, graphic works, drawings and photographs were later presented in many prestigious galleries, recently with the big retrospective in the Modern Gallery in Ljubljana. Photo exhibition Bohemians from Montparnasse brings a selection of photographic works from the Veno Pilon Gallery from Ajdovščina that is also a partner of the project.

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was one of the most influential creative figures in the Parisian avant-garde between the two World Wars. Cocteau's activities were remarkably varied; he was a writer, artist and film director, but sometimes he also grabbed the photo camera.

Veno Pilon(1896-1970) is one of the most famous Slovenian artists (painter, graphic artist, photographer). He was born in Ajdovščina, then part of the Austrian-Hungary province of Gorizia. In 1919 he enrolled in the Art Academy of Prague, later also to Academy in Florence. In 1926 he first visited Paris, since 1928 he permanently lived and worked in Montparnasse.


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