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Culture

EXPLORING VISUAL CREATIVITY: THE MEP

04.10.23

EXPLORING VISUAL CREATIVITY: THE MEP

Not sure what to do in Paris today? Then let us introduce you to the MEP, a cultural institution that explores visual creativity and all forms of photography

The MEP is the Maison Européenne de la photographie. But this place of discovery didn't always have that name. In 1978, Jean-Luc Monterosso, along with Henri Chapier, Marcel Landousti and Francis Balagna created the Paris Audiovisuel association.

The history of the MEP

Their aim: to showcase the work of artists during photo months. These 4 men, all professionals in their field, came together with the same objective and the same message: to promote the beauty and complexity of photography and all that this art form can convey in a powerful and aesthetic way. In 1996, when the venue was changed, the first French institution dedicated to photography in all its forms was renamed the MEP.

The MEP quickly established itself as a key cultural venue, exhibiting historic works by great names in photography such as Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson and many others.

Over the years, the MEP's reputation has grown and it now has an international reputation, even forming partnerships with several museums around the world.

                                                                       

The concept

The MEP is first and foremost a 1660m² space where the diversity and beauty of photography are showcased and exhibited to the general public. More specifically, it's a showcase for all forms of photography, from traditional photography to artistic video.

Located in Paris, in the 4th arrondissement in the heart of the Marais, in a private mansion with a unique atmosphere, you'll find the museum dedicated to promoting contemporary and historical photography. . By metro, bike or on foot, this museum is very accessible! Allow around 1 hour to explore and appreciate the many works on display.

Did you enjoy your first visit to the MEP? Don't hesitate to return when exhibitions change! In fact, temporary exhibitions are regularly rotated, with almost twenty per year. You'll find works by internationally-renowned photographers, as well as those by amateur photography enthusiasts. From photography to contemporary art, let yourself be amazed by these unique works.

To help you make the most of the exhibitions, the MEP offers several formats to accompany your visits, led by an MEP lecturer, provided you book in advance. Take advantage of a guided tour for groups, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the MEP throughout the season to get a closer look at some of the works and find out more about the exhibition's themes and approach.

As well as this, the MEP has a permanent photography collection, including works by great photographers from all over the world.

Morals may be hidden behind the works, so to feel and understand all their complexities and sensitivities, you can book a guided tour with an MEP lecturer. This type of tour is very popular, as it allows visitors to really immerse themselves in the photographer's world. For the more curious, behind-the-scenes tours are also offered throughout the season to give you a more sensitive approach to some of the works and more information on the exhibition's themes and approach.

Deeply involved in the field of photography and its evolution, the MEP supports research and education in this sector. It offers resources for students and enthusiastic researchers. The institution also houses a library specialising in photography, offering a vast collection of books, magazines and resources for anyone interested in photography and its complexities.

Deeply involved in the field of photography and its evolution, the MEP supports research and education in this sector. It offers resources for students and enthusiastic researchers. The institution also houses a library specialising in photography, offering a vast collection of books, magazines and resources for anyone interested in photography and its complexities.

As this institution is truly a living space, you will also find a shop where you can buy books, photographic prints and magazines, as well as a café where you can relax after exploring the exhibitions.

Digital and inclusive

The MEP has modernised and kept up with the times with a digital division. You'll be able to listen to a number of podcasts to explore the collections from a distance, in formats such as "1 work, 1 podcast" and "studio interviews". You'll be able to use your ears and your imagination to listen to a podcast host, who will go into great detail about the works and provide additional information about the exhibition.

The exhibitions

Some photographers have been exhibited several times at this museum. In 2023, the MEP's programme was very feminine, committed and experimental. The last exhibition was by Vviane Sassen, bringing together 200 works entitled Mirros & portals.

Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen was born in 1972. She grew up in Kenya, an influence that is often reflected in her work. She studied fashion and then photography, and gradually made a name for herself for her original, high-quality work. Her work has been commissioned by major brands such as Adidas and Diesel. Over nearly 30 years of creative work, she has produced works with unique colourimetry, playing with light and contrast. Her work reflects her interest in fashion, as well as more technical projects combining painting, collage and photography. Check out her new exhibition from 18 October to 11 February 2024 at the MEP.

To sum up, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris today is an emblematic venue dedicated to photography in all its forms. It plays an essential role in promoting this visual art and will give you a rich and unique cultural experience in Paris.

 

 

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