Portrait of the artist, 1955
Portrait of the artist, 1955

Equipped with his camera, Brassaï (1899-1984) captured the traces and inscriptions of ordinary citizens in the streets of Paris in the early 1930s. Through this practice he immortalised their drawings and discovered a self-expression that is hidden away and unexpected but also omnipresent. In his search for representations of real internal life - which he captured in his spontaneous photographs of urban life, the best-known being his series of night shots entitled Paris de Nuit - Brassaï discovered graffiti.

He was fascinated by this phenomenon, which reflects an irresistible and existential need to inscribe one's presence in matter, to immortalise our wounds and our best hopes. In his photographs of - shrunken, deformed and collapsed, wrinkled and cracked - figures, animals and faces, Brassaϊ illustrates the fascinating and magical aspects of these primitive forms of expression. According to him, they successfully question the purpose of mankind, nature and the meaning of life and death while at the same time inviting an encounter with the unknown. 


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