The Problematics of the Image

Photography is useful to art in many ways, not the least of which is to translate into tangible, pictorial form the ephemeral artwork or to draw attention to that which would otherwise remain unnoticed. It is not, however, without inconveniences, as it renders “aesthetic” everything it records, and thus neutralizes critical content. Wilson-Pajic explored the particularities of the image during the 80s and into the 90s, beginning with a direct attack on the aestheticizing mechanisms of photography by exploring the effects of pigment printing processes.

Her first efforts were greeted with enthusiasm by a photography community struggling to penetrate the world of the fine arts. Her artistic reputation and the permanence of her pigment techniques aided in legitimating a category of “artists’ photography”.

Keywords: art, avant-garde, text, photography, photo-text, photogram.


See also Musée national d’art moderne (search Wilson-Pajic

Circus: Scenario for a Memorable Death (1971-1985)

Work consisting of photos and texts.

«The work on the circus began a long time ago when I took down what family members told me about the time when my town had been the winter quarters of the great circuses. I made some photos in 1970-71 of different circus performances and of the abandoned winter quarters, but no way of presenting them seemed totally adequate until I recreated the pigment processes at the beginning of the 80s.»

The first prints were shown in a solo show in 1983 at the Musée national d’art moderne.

See also Réunion des Musées nationaux

Recognition in the form of commissions, grants, museum purchases and retrospective exhibitions encouraged the continuation of experiments with photography. Wilson-Pajic was named Chévalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1995.

See also Fonds national d’art contemporain
See also musée national d’art moderne
See also Réunion des Musées nationaux

1989 Commande d’État d’oeuvre significative by the French Ministry of Culture. Commemorating the 150th anniversary of Arago’s announcement of the invention of photography. Shown in the exhibition L’Invention d’un Art at the Musée national d’Art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1989.

Les Feux de Saint Jean (Saint John’s Bonfire) was printed from photos taken in 1977 in a village near Dreux, in France. The ancient practice of lighting ritual bonfires at the summer solstice was reputed to have long disappeared.

1990 Retrospective of photographic works at the Musée Cantini in Marseille. (Visible: Voices from the Other Side I, Memory Figures, Drifter)

1991 Retrospective of photographic works at the Musée national d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris. (Visible: Voices from the Other Side III, Grandmother’s Gestures II)

2002 Commission 1% for the Médiathèque de Lomme in Lille. Installation work on the theme Odyssey, with ensembles of images on the walls in various locations, a series of travel films as screen savers on all the computers and a series of images for graphic communications.

The work was chosen in 2012 for publication in the book on the history of 1% commissions in France: «100 1%».

Pluie 1988

Purchase by the Musée National d’Art Moderne of a triptych from the series Dreamworks, pigment images on canvas. A different version of the piece was acquired by the Musée d’Art et d’Archeology of Aurillac.

Exhibition Images in Movement 2006-07

Exhibition Elles@Centre Pompidou 2009-10

V.O. Soustitré (Subtitled Version) 1985-88

Series of large-format gum-dichromate prints on paper or canvas.

The reference to cinema permitted the provocative introduction of romantic images very much out of fashion in the art world.

V.O. Soustitré: Endless 1986

Multiple coats of yellow, magenta, cyan and black gum-dichromate on thin canvas mounted on stretched canvas. 114 X 324 cm overall.

Dreamworks: Creation Myth 1990

Triptych 114 x 486 cm in black gum over cyanotype on paper mounted on canvas. (Collection of the Fonds national d’art contemporain, purchased in 2009)

Dreamworks: Voix de l’Au-Delà (Voices from the Beyond) 1990

Diptych 114 x 286 cm in quadrichrome gum over cyanotype on paper mounted on canvas.

Dreamworks 1990

A series of large-format prints in gum-dichromate over cyanotype on watercolor paper, mounted on stretched canvas and arranged in sequences.

(Produced with a FIACRE grant from the French Ministry of Culture, in residence at the Chartreuse de Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.)