Maurice Fréchuret, Images de l’exil – Book


Maurice Frechuret, Images of Exile, 2021

French edition, 216 pages (ill.)

Published with the collaboration of Laurence Bertrand Dorléac – Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po and the support of the Antoine de Galbert Foundation. Published in October 2021, French edition, 17 x 24 cm (paperback), 216 pages (ill.)


Coming from very far away, certain images have durably shaped our imagination: those of the exile, the refugee or the migrant, participate in this structuring and are thus part of our mental heritage. Their diffusion was ensured by the tales and the legends, by the songs, the prayers and the nursery rhymes but also by visual representations which, with the wire of time, specified the contours of it. Religions have provided the necessary narratives for the construction of a powerful iconography of exile. Adam and Eve driven out of Paradise, The Flight into Egypt, The Exodus, are all examples that Duccio, Giotto, Masaccio or Fra Angelico… will paint on the walls of churches or monasteries.

In the mad acceleration that characterizes modern times, a considerable iconography of flight, wandering and exclusion emerges, caused by wars, regimes of terror or scarcity. Painters and photographers, from Marc Chagall to Robert Capa, took up the subject and welcomed in their works these “history dropouts” whose fate was as uncertain as it was trying. The videos and installations of many contemporary artists question a phenomenon that continues to grow. Mona Hatoum, Francis Alÿs, Kimsooja, Adrian Paci, Mohamed Bourouissa, Barthélémy Toguo, Zineb Sedira… and many others, produce works rich in meaning in which the notions of borders and identity are the subject of a treatment that can fluctuate between the documentary and the fictional and poetic narrative.

“This book is not a history of immigration that would fit into a history of art (and/or the reverse), but it contributes generously, usefully. Faced with the walls of “scurrilous legislation”, “hatefully alarmist policies”, “ideologues of identity-based withdrawal”, artists “engaged more than anyone else in the creative flow of existence” rise up. They help us to consider, with Didier Fassin, “migrants and displaced persons as central figures of the contemporary world.” [Un livre] indispensable.”

François Huglo, Sitaudis


Maurice Fréchuret is an art historian and chief curator of heritage, with a doctorate in Sociology and a doctorate in Art History. He was curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne in Saint-Étienne from 1986 to 1993, and then of the Musée Picasso in Antibes from 1993 to 2001. Director of the capcMusée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux from 2001 to 2006, he was appointed curator of the National Museums of the 20th Century in the Alpes-Maritimes (2006-2014). In parallel to his work as a curator, exhibition commissioner and teacher, Maurice Fréchuret has published numerous works, including: Le Mou et ses formes (éditions ENSBA, 1993, Jacqueline Chambon, 2004) ; La Machine à peindre (Jacqueline Chambon, 1994) ; L’Envolée, L’enfouissement(Skira, RMN, 1995) ; L’art médecine (in collaboration with Thierry Davila, RMN, 2000) ;Les Années 70, l’art en cause (RMN, 2002) ; Exils (in collaboration with Laurence Bertrand-Dorléac, RMN, 2012).


Cover Adrian Paci , Centro di Permanenza, 2007 (detail), plexiglass-framed mounted photograph (artist’s proof 1), 100, è x 183 x 5 cm, © Adrian Paci. Courtezy Kaufmann repetto, Milan/New York

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