The life and work of Magnum photographer Alex Majoli is currently the spectacle in Le Bal, Paris. The show Alex Majoli – Scene is shedding more light as to how Majoli sees humanity through the lens.
For over eight years of on-the-job, traveling across Europe, Asia, Brazil, and Congo, the Italian photographer's been studying the human condition as he started his career by documenting the closing of a famous psychiatric institution in Leros, Greece between 1994 and 1995. Capturing scenes from harsh reality is Majoli's signature work, but he puts a certain twist to his image by making them look like scenes from the Italian theater, thanks to the influence of Luigi Pirandello's writings. Through this, Majoli began to play with the borders of reality and fiction – his series documentary series on the omnipresent violence in Brazilians' daily lives in Tudo Bom.
Exhibition curator David Campany described Majoli's photography to be likened to a "human theatre". His subjects are framed as if taken straight out of a diorama, enacting in this stage we would call "life". despite most of his images being taken in the daylight. Instead, he mimics the moonlight cast over his subjects.
Through photographs purposefully dimly lit, the audience is being pushed to relate and connect. Campany said:
"The illusionism of photography is inseparable from the contemplation of its illusion. This does not negate the documentary potential of the image although it does imply that documentary itself ought to accept the theatricality of its own premise. His images do this not by resolving the tensions between artwork and document but by dramatizing them, making them thinkable in the midst of our pictorial and documentary encounter with the contemporary world."
Majoli breaks the conventional rules of black and white photography, making a dramatic statement with the lack of light. Through it, he is able to reveal another way of seeing our human condition.
The show will run through 28 April in Le Bal, Paris. Visit their website for more information about the show.
Images are with permission from Le Bal.