This catalog is published on the occasion of François-Marie Banier’s exhibition at the Triennale di Milano & Fondazione Mudima in Milan from the 6th of May until the 30th of July 2000.
François-Marie Banier is an artist who has photographed with unusual intensity, through the body and face of persons chosen intentionally or casually, life in the splendour of its beauty and the melancholy of its decadence.
While we had never met, I knew his work from books and exhibitions catalogues.
After a brief meeting in Milan the decision to expand the original project was immediate and natural, and we have thus organised an anthological exhibition at the Triennale, which is mainly focused on his photographic work, and a solo show at the Mudima Foundation which principally features his paintings, to which he has dedicated most of his artistic research in recent years.
Large photographic images, recounted as in a diary of memories, have been re-invented by the felicitous superimposition of pictorial elements by the artist.
This is a unique opportunity, due to its visual quality, to familiarise with a creative adventure which has by now lasted forty years, and which the artist still continues, never satisfied, still searching for new inspiration.
We would like to thank the artist, the Milan Triennale and the Centre Culturel Français de Milan for making this initiative possible.
Gino Di Maggio
The gesticulation started a long time before I was born. Living was an obligation. The laughter and the tears, and all the game around these awkward people; they would take me in their arms, saying loudly how cute this kid is, and look at his face, how resembling it is. […]
Extract from the text The Snapshot by François-Marie Banier
I have always hunted the unknown person, weighed by stars invisible to the eye, hopes and regrets that photography exploits as if they were gold mines. Every time, I hold out my hat to these anonymous people, full of sentiments because they touch me – my hat is my camera, of course. Every photo I take answers a precise intention that may be confused at first, but with time, the unknown reveals itself and dialogue develops. Every photo expresses a feeling, joins in a world, discovers another one. […]
Excerpt from the text Quotations by François-Marie Banier
The humanism of François-Marie Banier
A modern antidote to the artificiality and virtuality of the global media society
It is extremely refreshing to open a book, or see an exhibition, by François-Marie Banier; it is a way to reassure oneself that even in these days, dominated by the dazzling and superficial approach of the mass media, Humanity still roams the streets of our big cities, and that there are still artists who enjoy to look for persons capable of being themselves, to capture them in the instant in which, for a moment, due to excessive emotions or a temporary distraction, when the mask and the social defenses are dropped, they reveal the coincidences between a physiognomy, a personality and a destiny. In fact, it is very hard to image humanity in an abstract sense; it is much easier to recognise in a particular human being: a man or woman who suddenly, with a smile, but also with a tear or a grimace, succeeds in feeling and manifesting the promise that after all, continues to keep us together. Yes, deep down, forgotten, dispersed in the thousand commitments, worries, perplexities of life our common denominator, Humanity still survives. […]
Excerpt from the text The humanism of François-Marie Banier by Daniela Palazzoli
François-Marie Banier the primitive
It begins in the studio, that secret place, hidden, concealed in a yard. And it’s not just a studio: it is a place for life, work, writing, painting a place where everything mixes up, piles up. Each door opens on piles of photo, painting sketches, works in progress or completed, innumerable drafts, lying on the floor, waiting for the next working session. The first impression is astonishment, a feeling of proliferation, abundance, submersion: this is how I felt when I entered this universe for the first time. […]
Excerpt from the text François-Marie Banier the primitive by Dominique Stella