Photography MuseumEdit profile
The Musée de la Photographie, holding a representative collection tracing the world history of photography (80,000 images and 3 million preserved negatives), has positioned itself as a reference in the field of photography in Europe, and is recognised for the quality of its temporary exhibitions and its service to the public. A contemporary art centre of the French Community, the museum is currently directed by Xavier Canonne. Housed since 1987 in a neo-gothic building, a former Carmelite convent, in Mont-sur-Marchienne, near Charleroi, the museum has undergone major works, headed by the Brussels-based architecture firm l’Escaut. With its renovation in 1995 the building’s logic was overturned, being transformed from a place of seclusion from the outside world for the purpose of religious devotion to an open, public space devoted to showing the world through the art of photography. The museum’s new wing, housing a new library, a conference and projection room, a cafeteria, a workshop for children and exhibition rooms for the presentation of contemporary large format photography, etc., defies conventional museum logic, multiplying the references to photography, its history and its multi-faceted representation. The construction methods employed, such as the use of cross laminated solid wood panels as structural supports for the cantilever, drawing on the experience of Yves Weinand in the field of stability, make it the first of its kind in Europe. Visual artist Jeanine Cohen contributed with the colouring of the fine aluminium profiles covering the façade, establishing a link with the sky and the light. The barely perceptible colours are brought to life through their reflection, varying with the time of day, the position of the sun, and the season of the year. Photographic in its own right, this work raises questions regarding both the meaning of photography and our own senses. The opening of the park – previously closed to the public and local residents – reinforces the museum’s role within the neighbourhood, influencing the redefinition of the hitherto neglected public spaces. This dynamic project has captured the attention of the local authorities, such as the city council - the Ville de Charleroi, which see it as a driving force for urban renewal in the area.