Simon Baker, the esteemed Director of Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP), narrates the conception of “The City and the City,” an exhibition marrying the archival prowess of Frank Horvat with the contemporary lens of Antony Cairns. This partnership sprouted from conversations with Fiammetta Horvat, who heads the Frank Horvat Studio, examining innovative methods to juxtapose Horvat’s celebrated archive with modern creations.
Horvat, whose work has graced galleries worldwide, remains a towering figure in photography, as evidenced by the recent success of his showcase at Jeu de Paume in Paris. The studio, adorned with works exchanged with preeminent photographers of the 20th century, testifies to Horvat’s lasting impact and his spirit of artistic exchange.
In a harmonious continuation of this legacy, Antony Cairns was invited to engage with the studio’s treasures, a choice motivated by his dedication to urban photography and intriguing printing techniques that resonate with Horvat’s technological explorations. Cairns brings a fresh perspective by employing antiquated computer punch cards as canvases, extending this innovative practice to print a pivotal yet lesser-known collection of Horvat’s photographs from Hong Kong, circa 1963.
The dialogue between Cairns’s and Horvat’s cityscapes reveals a striking interplay of affinity and contrast, collectively offering a novel interpretation of urban landscapes. This exhibition is not only a tribute to Horvat’s influence but also a testament to the fresh vistas opened by Cairns’s vision, altogether inspired by Fiammetta Horvat’s dedication and the original artwork’s enduring vitality.