Décadrage colonial, Decentring the Gaze — Claudia Polledri

[Fall 2023]

Décadrage colonial
Decentring the Gaze


Based on a rereading of French photographic production in the 1930s, the exhibition Décadrage colonial1 underlines the contradictions of an era fascinated by cultures from “elsewhere” and concerned with redefining the image of a nation. Décadrage: leaving the frame, shifting the image, decentring the subject and, thus, the gaze – divided here between the result of “deframing” (décadrage) and the Centre Pompidou’s “decolonial” (dé-colonial) aim,2 the prefix “de-” being defined as “do or make the opposite of; remove or remove from.”3 The link between the two terms, décadrage and dé-colonial, thus appears obvious, but we may emphasize it anyway: colonialism is also encompassed in the gaze, and overcoming it requires the effort of a decentred vision. The exhibition, installed in the Centre Pompidou’s photography gallery, is therefore concerned with constantly shifting the spectators’ gaze, making them perceive the image as construction, through a visual pathway that has to do with how photography was used, for or against the interwar colonial undertaking. Photography, the tangible result of the gaze upon the Other, sometimes with the intention of domination, is revealed here as a perceptible object that has played an important role in fabricating the representation necessary for colonial policies, and for critiquing them. But, then, how do we deframe?…

[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 124 – SEEING THROUGH IMAGES ]
[ Complete article, in digital version, available here: Décadrage colonial, Decentring the Gaze — Claudia Polledri ]