Since its invention, the automobile has reshaped our landscape, extended our geographic horizons, and radically altered our conception of space and time. The car has also influenced the approach and practice of photographers, providing them not only with a new subject but also a new way of exploring the world and a new means of expression.
‘Autophoto’ will present over 500 works from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. It will invite visitors to discover the many facets of automotive culture – aesthetic, social, environmental, industrial – through the eyes of photographers from around the world.
The exhibition will bring together over 90 photographers, including both famous and lesser-known gures, who have shown a fascination for the automobile as a subject or have used it as a tool to take their pictures
In the early 20th century, the automobile and its impact on the landscape had already become a subject of predilection for many photographers, influencing both the form and content of their work.
The exhibition will also present a series of “auto portraits”* made by a variety of photographers from the mid-20th century to the present. Many photographers have exploited the technical and aesthetic possibilities offered by the automobile, using it like a camera to capture the surrounding landscape through car windows or the reflections in rear view mirrors.
Many photographers have explored other aspects of our car culture, from the car industry and its impact on the environment to its role in history and society.
The Fondation Cartier has also invited artist Alain Bublex to create for the exhibition a series of 10 model cars that cast a fresh eye on the history of automobile design. His installation combines photographs, drawings and models to explore how the car design has evolved over time incorporating new techniques, forms and practices.
Despite energy crises, ecology movements and industrial mismanagement, the car remains essential to our daily lives. At a time when we are questioning the role and the future of the automobile in our society, the ‘Autophoto’ exhibition re-examines, with nostalgia, humour and a critical eye, this 20th century symbol of freedom and independence.
The exhibition runs from April 20 till September 4, 2017 at the Fondation Cartier in Paris.