Galerie Paris-Beijing is pleased to present the first Belgian retrospective of the work of the English photographer Martin Parr. Through the exhibition of the renowned series Common Sense, Last Resort, Small World, Luxury, Bored Couples, and Life’s a beach the spectator is invited to view the world through the original and unconventional perspective of the tireless traveller that Martin Parr is.
In addition to a selection of photographs covering 30 years of production, the exhibition will also include a series of caustic and rarely displayed self portraits. His movie, Think of England, dedicated to the leisurely activities of his fellow countrymen and to the commonplaces that define the mass culture in England, will be on display in the gallery’s projection room.
Active member of the Magnum Agency since 1994, Martin Parr has been one of the first to illustrate the transition from an industrial economy to a service-based society, taking a critical stance on globalisation.
His hilarious clichés, filled with irreverence and sarcasm, often focus on a grotesque detail that allows the viewer to take a broader perspective on today’s world.
Through the use of uninhibited close-ups Martin Parr does not hold back in shoving under our noses a plate of fried food or a huge hamburger, symbols of the bad eating habits that are responsible for the unprecedented increase in obesity levels in developed countries.
In the series Small World or Life’s beach, tourists wearing shorts, armed with cameras posing in front of a famous monument as well as the oiled up bodies of sunbathers colonising every square inch of a packed beach, lead the spectator to reflect upon the social and environnemental impacts of mass tourism. In the series Bored Couples, where a man and a woman sit opposite each other around a restaurant table, staring vacantly into the distance, the photographer delves into the subject of boredom, the malady of the century.
Matin Parr defines himself as a documentarist who produces a type of photographic genre which addresses “serious subjects, disguised as entertainment”. Accentuated by his use of very vivid colours, Parr’s aesthetic treatment of daily and ordinary life implies a sociological analysis of classes and a poignant critique of Western opulence. The result is a stigmatisation of contemporary society by emphasizing its worst faults.
Born in 1952 in Epsom, Surrey (England), Martin Parr graduated from photography at Manchester Polytechnic in 1973. In 1994, he became a full member of Magnum Photographic Corporation. In 2004 he took part in the artistic management of the Rencontres d’Arles and in 2008 in the New York Photo Festival.
A photographer, a filmmaker and a collector of miscellaneous objects, Martin Parr has developed an international reputation for his innovative imagery, his oblique approach to social documentary, and his input to photographic culture within the UK and abroad.
In 2006 he won the Erich Salomon photojournalism prize and in 2008 the Baume&Mercier prize in PhotoEspaña.
Martin Parr’s photos have been exhibited in countless museums, including the MOMA in New York, the Tate Britain in London and the Jeu de Paume in Paris. Many of his photographs are part of important public and private collections such as the Tate Modern in London, the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art and the Australian National Gallery.