This exhibition traces the history of blur in photography, from the invention of the process to the present. With comparisons to painting and cinema, it tells the story – via key works – of the evolution of this form, as well as of the values associated with it according to the different periods and photographic practices.
The exhibition will begin with some paintings from the 17th century – a period in which "softness" constitutes a very specific pictorial category –, and will then move on to the present where blur has become a preponderant element of the photographic aesthetic. Blur oscillates between the primary technical error it involves and the artistic ambitions it promises.
The exhibition thus allows us to grasp the challenges posed by blur in different photographic practices, whether it be photography for artistic purposes, that produced by amateurs and scientists, or photojournalism. We will be able to discover the richness of blur, which often evokes an element and its opposite, whether it be in its relationship to reality and mimesis, in its bourgeois and revolutionary affinities, in its relationship to amateurism and expertise, or in the technical virtuosity it evokes or, on the contrary, the primary defect it designates.