Agence Pierluigi, Les photographes attendant Anita Ekberg à la passerelle de l'avion, 1959 | © Collection Michel Giniès / Attribué à Pierluigi Praturlon / DR
Jean Pigozzi, Mick Jagger et Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hôtel du Cap, Antibes, France, 1990 | © CAAC, The Pigozzi Collection
Ron Galella, Jackie O. and Ron, New York, 1971 | © Ron Galella / A. Galerie
Daniel Angeli (Liz Taylor) | © Daniel Angeli
In this original exhibition, "Paparazzi!", Centre Pompidou-Metz examines the phenomenon and aesthetics of paparazzi photography through more than 600 works from photography, painting and video to sculpture and installations.
With works spanning fifty years, the exhibition examines the complex and fascinating relationship between photographer paparazzo and the photographed celebrities.
Paparazzi! Photographers, stars and artists sets out to define the paparazzi aesthetic by depicting works from some of paparazzi photography's leading names such as Tazio Secchiaroli, Ron Galella, Bruno Mouron and Pascal Rostain, as well as works by Richard Avedon, Raymond Depardon, Yves Klein, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol. All these famous photographers reflected the idea of the celebrity as a modern-day myth through their work.
The word "paparazzi" was coined by Federico Fellini in his 1960 film La Dolce Vita , contracting the words "pappataci" (mosquitoes) and "ragazzi" (ruffians). Therefore, the practice of following celebrities, hoping for a candid shot has been around for more than half a century. Ever since, the paparazzo, a "post-modern hero", has almost become a legend of the popular press, akin to a war correspondent but rather reporting from the frontline of celebrity life.
Their targets are almost always women who epitomise the feminine ideals of their era: Brigitte Bardot, Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, Liz Taylor, Stephanie and Caroline of Monaco, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears… However celebrities often fight back against the paparazzi, they try to prevent photographs being taken and sometimes even attack the photographers. On the other hand, celebrities can be willing accomplices to their paparazzi followers, sometimes playing up to the camera and even setting up shots.
Ever since the 1960s and 70s, the attitudes adopted by the paparazzi have fascinated countless artists who, in one work or another, have stepped into the paparrazo's shoes.