A life's work
Yan Morvan is singular among singulars. Known as one of the great war photographers, Morvan became “sulphurous” for having documented sex and pornography in the 90s, and has a reputation that his taste for gangs does not seem to contradict. By opening his archives to Manuel Morin and Quentin Euverte, it is however another score that appears; that of the human comedy. It would be too simple to see only the marginalized, it is also the forgotten and the abandoned that are at stake here. The show is not just about the glitter, it is about everything. Somewhere between poetry and testimony lies reality, and all its fantasies, even the most extreme. Between sex and war lies progress and its myriad of vanquished, of whom so few really capture the story. For it is indeed all this memory that the Yan Morvan Archives speak of.
These 50 years of photography will be revealed in their entirety through more than 100 magazines and books, in bi-monthly deliveries spread over four years (minimum). Yan Morvan’s prolix testimony in the
depths of the soul.
For those who follow them, these Yan Morvan archives will take on different meanings as they are released, each new issue will be like a blow, an ode to the abyss of being on the path of the great questioning that made believers and heretics. Formally, by choosing to publish two magazines per month, the publisher BATT -an independent publishing house and bookstore- places itself in an obvious homage to the press which was the receptacle and sponsor of many of these clichés, a press which is still dying but which remains in the collective unconscious a primordial object of transmission of the 20th century.
A sort of printed transition to the 21st century, which is digital. These edited archives will nevertheless trace a red thread in this morass, for those who want to find other sensibilities than their own.
A text will qualify each issue. In addition to the one hundred issues planned over four years, there will be one special issue per quarter in the form of a book highlighting a photographic ensemble that is coherent in terms of place or time. Among these special issues, we will find, for example, the Burning Man of 1998, the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Uganda in 1986, hip-hop in France at the end of the 1980s, the life of a motorway police station at the beginning of the 1980s…
An archive as a schizophrenic work, at least as much as the world it depicts. For it is a work composed of two things: of itself, an incredible mass of documentary photographs, and of the historical machine that situates it, the media and political context of all these photographs.
It is rare to find such a combination of photographic intensity and critical fabrication in the lens of a single photographer over such a period (the last 45 years). And it is not simply that one does not work without the other. It is that one paradoxically passes through the other. Morvan, Modern.