Since its opening in 1996, Jean-Luc Monterosso has been directing the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) in Paris. Serving photography, Jean-Luc Monterosso has always been fighting to make sure that it becomes a self evident part of the international Fine Arts market. After 22 years of service, he announced his upcoming retirement. Today, the MEP knows who is going to fill his position: Simon Baker from the Tate Modern of London. What can we expect from this new direction?
The MEP, an institution dedicated to photography
The story of the MEP started with the initiative of the organization “Paris Audiovisuel – Maison Européenne de la Photographie” supported by the City of Paris. Indeed, realizing that photography was struggling to earn its place in the Fine Arts market, the organization decided to build a collection that would be exhibited in a high end cultural institution. As a result the MEP opened its doors in February 1996 in Paris. It picked the Hôtel Hénault, built in 1706 for Hénaut de Cantobre, to be its home. Renovated and extended by architect Yves Lion, the building freed itself from the original paneling and woodworking to open its space. As a result, the MEP’s collection is composed by over 20 000 Artworks, including some from master photographers such as Irving Penn.
A new symbolic director
Simon Baker, the new Director of the Institution, is a 44 year-old British citizen. In 2009, when he became the first curator in charge of photography at the Tate Modern in London, he also forged himself a name. Indeed, it was a delicate challenge since photography came out late in the Institution. Simon Baker’s education in Art History led him to get an interest in Surrealism which was his thesis research subject. However, his activities are not limited to Great Britain. In fact, he has also been organizing different exhibitions in France, particularly as part of the Rencontres de la Photographie of Arles. Japanese photography is a passion of his. The appointing of a British personality at the top executive profile of the MEP is a symbol that can be interpreted as a reaction to Brexit.
The MEP’s future endeavors
Simon Baker aims at focusing on the MEP’s existing collection, with a special attention to its Japanese Artworks. On the occasion of the Rencontres de la Photographie of Arles, he already organized an exhibition entitled “Another Language” in 2015 with Japanese photographers as well as Masahisa Fukase’s 2017 retrospective. The new appointed Director told Le Monde he was “very excited” to start his new position. His programming will start in 29019 with a special attention to Japanese photographers as well as emerging French and European photographers. Art-Trope attended the MEP’s exhibition opening on January 16th 2018. The intriguing photographs of Artist Marc Krüger from the Eurazeo collection drew our attention.
Read our article about the sale of 22 Artworks by Art-Trope Artist Aymard le Forestier de Quillien here.