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Brassaϊ, Graffiti de la Série VI, L'Amour, 1935

Equipped with his camera, Brassaï (1899-1984) captured traces of the ordinary inhabitants of Paris' streets beginning in the 1930s, thus discovering a hidden and unsuspected, though omnipresent expression. During his search for expressions of real and internal life - which he captured through spontaneous photographs of his urban environment, 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 the injuries and hope in their souls. In his figures, his animals and in his shrunken, deformed, collapsed, wrinkled and cracked faces, Brassaϊ discovered a frightening magic through a primitive form of expression that questions the role of man, of nature, of death and love while at the same time inviting inspection and this encounter with the unknown.

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