Fish in Reflection

Fish in Reflection

To coincide with the exhibition Thomas Mailaender — Les Belles Images, the exhibition at the Petite Galerie, for young and old alike, features a dialogue between video captures from Thomas Mailaender's installation "Fish Museum" and the pictures of the series "Betta Splendens" by photographer Hiro from the MEP's collections.

Petite Galerie

In “Fish Museum”, Thomas Mailaender turns aquariums into fish museums by placing miniatures in their environment. One of the little figures is a reproduction of Edgar Degas’s sculpture The Little 14-Year-Old Dancer. The other is a folk art sculpture from Asia, also reminiscent of Alberto Giacometti’s Walking Man.

In the “Betta Splendens” series, Hiro offers us a collection of photos capturing the beauty and majesty of fighting fish. He highlights the vibrant colours and graceful movements of these fish, transforming them into works of art.

Mailaender and Hiro’s works question the dynamic between the observer and the observed. In “Fish Museum”, aquarium fish, usually observed by humans, are placed in the position of observers, while in “Betta Splendens” they are magnified and become objects of human admiration. This reversal of roles questions the place of the viewer and the viewed.

The exhibition invites us to think about the notion of museum in a funny and clever way. Traditionally, a museum is a place where objects of cultural, historical or artistic significance are conserved, exhibited and interpreted. By turning aquariums into museums, Thomas Mailaender extends this definition, suggesting that any space can become a museum, and that the value of objects on display may vary according to the person looking at them.

By bringing Thomas Mailaender’s humorous installation in dialogue with Hiro’s contemplative photographs, the exhibition creates a space where human and fish, the natural and artificial, serious and playful meet and question each other.

Image en une : HIRO, « Betta Splenders (Poisson combattant du Siam) », New York, 1984 Tirage Dye Transfer Collection MEP, Paris. Don de la société Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. en 2000 © The Estate of Y. Hiro Wakabayashi