Press Room / MARC RIBOUD: PHOTOGRAPHING THE WORLD, 1953-2005

January 24, 2006

MARC RIBOUD: PHOTOGRAPHING THE WORLD, 1953-2005

For Immediate Release: January 19, 2006

Contacts: Lynette Nyman, P.R. Manager, (612) 870-3173; Tammy Pleshek, P.R. Specialist, (612) 870-3171; Anne-Marie Wagener, Director of External Affairs, (612) 870-3280

Print Quality Images Available Online: http://www.artsmia.org/press/

THE MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS PRESENTS
RETROSPECTIVE ON PHOTOGRAPHER MARC RIBOUD

“Marc Riboud: Photographing the World, 1953–2005” Will Showcase More Than 65 Works by One of the World’s Leading Photojournalists

Minneapolis, MN, January 18, 2006–The Minneapolis Institute of Art will present a retrospective exhibition on the work of acclaimed French photojournalist Marc Riboud from March 11 through May 14, 2006. Comprised of more than sixty-five works, the exhibition features images Riboud made as he traveled throughout the world on assignment for publications for more than fifty years. Riboud has long been associated with the illustrious MAGNUM Photos, Inc., having been mentored by two of the agency’s founders, famed photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. Highly sensitive to the nuances and subtleties of cultural variations, Riboud’s photographs provide insightful and memorable vignettes of our rich and diverse world.

Riboud’s first assignment was photographing the British industrial city of Leeds in 1954. From 1955 to 1960 he visited the Near East, the Far East, India, Nepal, China, and the Soviet Union, and took a motor tour from Alaska to Mexico. He spent 1960 to 1970 documenting the people and activities in Africa, Algeria, Turkey, China, North and South Vietnam, and Cambodia. In 1967, Riboud took his image most well-known to the American public: a woman holding a flower before soldiers during a Vietnam War protest march on the Pentagon. The exhibition includes a later image taken in 2003 of the same woman, Jan Rose Kasmir, holding a reproduction of the 1967 picture while marching in London against the war in Iraq. Between 1970 and 1980 Riboud returned to the Near and Far East and explored Poland and Czechoslovakia. Riboud has been witness to numerous wars and was one of the first western photographers permitted to enter China after Mao Tse-tung founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Riboud’s photographs have appeared in many publications such as LIFE, Géo, National Geographic, Paris-Match, and Stern. He has twice won the Overseas Press Club Award (in 1966 and 1970), and has had major retrospective exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1985) and the International Center of Photography in New York (1988 and 1997) as well as three concurrent exhibitions in Paris in 2004: “Marc Riboud: 50 Years of Photography” at Maison Européenne de la Photographie, “Celestial Mountain” at the Grand-Palais, and a smaller collection show at the Galerie Obscura across the street from the Cartier Foundation.

Born in 1923, Riboud was one of four sons of a Lyon-based banker. He attended high school in Lyon and made his first photograph in 1937 at the age of thirteen, using a Vest Pocket Kodak his father had used in the trenches during World War I. Riboud later was active in the French Resistance from 1943 to 1945. Riboud studied engineering at the École Centrale in Lyon, from 1945 to 1948, after which he worked as an engineer in Lyon factories. In 1952, Riboud moved to Paris, establishing a base from which he could travel to many countries.

In Paris, Riboud met Cartier-Bresson, a friend of Riboud’s brother Jean. The already famous photographer became a mentor to Riboud, imposing strict rules about composition and technique, and cautioning Riboud that a career in photography is not stable.

“Henri was my salutary tyrant. He told me which books to read, which museums to visit, which political ideas I should have, which photos I should take, and which I shouldn’t. His tireless passion for culture and life taught me more than any lesson,” Riboud wrote in conjunction with his exhibition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in 2004.

In 1951 Riboud was invited by Cartier-Bresson to join the MAGNUM group. He became a full member in 1951, eventually serving as president from 1975 to 1976. He became independent in 1979 but remains associated with the prestigious agency. His published books on the Far East afforded Riboud his international reputation. These include The Three Banners of China (1966), Face of North Vietnam (1970), Visions of China (1981), and In China (1996).

Riboud has said of his career, “I look, I photograph, and I have fun, too. For me, the pleasure of the eye is the greatest of all, even if it comes with its share of trial and error and doubt. Seeing is not so easy. It takes training, and one even needs a kind of courage that cannot always be mustered. But there are moments of grace when the eye is at the top of its bent and has the real power of seeing…I take photographs in the same way a musician hums a tune. Looking around me is as natural as breathing and, when luck is with me and I am given a good picture, happiness is just around the corner.”

As an epilogue to the retrospective, thirteen color photographs drawn from Riboud’s book Capital of Heaven (1990) are on view and serve as a photographic tribute to the Institute’s magnificent collection of Chinese art, particularly the paintings. They depict the spiritually charged Huang Shan mountain range, located on the east bank of the Yangtze River, 310 miles west of Shanghai, in the central province of Anhui, their granite peaks almost always enveloped in mist. Chinese painters of today return time and again to the Huang Shan to find inspiration for the renewal of the great painting traditions of the past.

The eighty-two-year-old Riboud will visit The Minneapolis Institute of Art on Saturday, March 11, presenting a lecture at 2 p.m. in Pillsbury Auditorium. The lecture is free, but seat reservations are required. Please call (612) 870–6323 for more information.

About The Minneapolis Institute of Art
The Minneapolis Institute of Art, home to one of the finest encyclopedic art collections in the country, houses approximately 100,000 works of art representing more than 5,000 years of world history. Highlights of the permanent collection include European masterworks by Rembrandt van Rijn, Nicolas Poussin, and Vincent Van Gogh, as well as internationally significant collections of Asian art, decorative arts, Modernism, photographs, and African and Native American art.

General admission is always free. Some special exhibitions have a nominal admission fee. Museum Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m-5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Closed Monday. For additional information, call (612) 870-3131 or visit www.artsmia.org.
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