Marion Gronier “We were never meant to survive”

  • Exposition
  • Exposition
  • Rencontre

Practical information

  • Date et heure
  • Location Galerie le Château d'Eau
  • Public Étudiant, Tout Public, Tout Public
Marion Gronier “We were never meant to survive”

Achevé en 2020, les portraits photographiques en couleurs de Marion Gronier, questionne la mémoire, l’identité, la violence de l’histoire coloniale des États-Unis et sa persistance aujourd'hui.

  • Marion Gronier est une photographe française
  • L'exposition présente 3 séries de visages de descendants des peuples qui fondèrent les États-Unis
  • La série "We never meant to survive" est visible au rez-de-chaussée de la tour de la galerie Le Château d'Eau

L'exposition est présentée en regard du travail sur la mémoire des lieux au Congo de la photographe kinoise Gosette Lubondo.

Questioning identity

Deciphering the combination of layers comprising it, this also means questioning nature and the way we view it. Coming from France, Marion Gronier examines the situation of maimed and marginalised populations in the United States of America. They represent the “original” communities of the United States, the Indians who were massacred, the slaves of African origin, the Anabaptist immigrants who were among the first European settlers.

All of our contemporaries, who seem to be locked in a temporality that is no longer ours, they are victims but also resistance fighters. By choosing a different background for each community, she both symbolically establishes the identity of the group and builds a subtle aesthetic coherence that underlines the transition from one group to another. Marion Gronier lets these men, women and children express themselves silently solely by their presence, both fragile and intense

Christian Caujolle, Artistic Advisor

Indian woman with long hair and purple T-shirt.
© Marion Gronier « We were never meant to survive » Montana, 2015
Homme africain portant un tee-shirt noir posant contre mur blanc.
© Marion Gronier « We were never meant to survive » Louisiane, 2018
Portrait of a young blond boy with blue eyes
© Marion Gronier « We were never meant to survive »Pennsylvanie, 2014

Présentation of the exhibition

A self-taught photographer with a literary education, Marion Gronier devotes herself to personal projects in which she digs into the portrait to extract its power to act in face-to-face encounters without escape. The work “We were never meant to survive”, was awarded a grant for contemporary documentary photography by the Centre National des Arts Plastiques.

By photographing Native Americans, Mennonites and African Americans, I sought to find the faces of the people who founded the United States of America. The faces that caught my attention seemed to be marked by sadness and bitterness that was much older than they were, as if the tidal wave of the original violence that haunts the history of this country, that of the extermination of the «Indians» and the slavery of the «Black», This violence was instituted in American society by a separation and hierarchisation of races, and is now systemic.

I chose to re-stage this typology to overturn it, to show how, in contrast to this false assignment, the photographed face vibrates, vacillates, shimmers, the extent to which it leads us into the unknown, how elusive it is and how it defies any diminishing effect if we linger to examine it.
These faces bear the memory of the oppression suffered by their ancestors, but they also bear an unfailing resistance.

Marion Gronier, photographe

African woman with long hair and white tank top
©Marion Gronier « We were never meant to survive » Louisiane, 2017

“We have all heard the bit about what a pity it was that Plymouth Rock didn’t land on the Pilgrims instead of the other way around. I have never found this remark very funny. It seems wistful and vindictive to me, containing, furthermore, a very bitter truth. The inertness of that rock meant death for the Indians, enslavement for the blacks, and spiritual disaster for those homeless Europeans who now call themselves Americans and who have never been able to resolve their relationship either to the continent they fled or to the continent they conquered.

James Baldwin, Nothing personal, 1964

BIOGRAPHy of the artist

After two years of literary preparatory classes, a master’s degree in cinema and a master’s degree in cultural mediation, she discovered photography. Three years as an assistant at the VU Agency shaped her vision. She began photographing in 2003, driven by personal projects that quickly focused on faces.

  • 2022 We were never meant to survive, Galerie Le Château d’Eau, Toulouse, France
  • 2021 We were never meant to survive, La Fab. Hors les murs, Agnès b, Paris, France
  • 2019 I am your fantasy, Fotofestival Lenzburg, SuisseHerbes flottantes, Théâtre de la Criée, Marseille
  • 2018 Rétrospective personnelle suite à l’acquisition de 4 portraits de The Americans, Collection Neuflize OBC, Paris
    The Americans, Festival Mutations, Institut Français et The Gujral Foundation, New Delhi, Inde
  • 2016 The Americans, Central Dupon Images, Paris, France
  • 2014 The Americans, extraits, Paris Photo, Grand Palais, Paris, France
    Les glorieux, Centre culturel Jacques Franck, Bruxelles, Belgique
  • 2013 Les glorieux, Paris Photo, Grand Palais, Paris, France, Les glorieux, Rencontres d’Arles
    I am your fantasy, Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image, Nice
  • 2012 Les glorieux, extraits, Paris Photo, Grand Palais, Paris
    I am your fantasy, Galerie Claude Samuel, Paris
    I am your fantasy, Maison de la Photographie, Lille, France /Médiathèque du Grand Cahors
  • 2011 I am your fantasy, Musée de la Photographie de Charleroi, Belgique / projection au Festival Images Singulières, Sète
Couverture du livre de Marion Gronier ” We were never meant to survive”

The series was the subject of a book published by Le Bec en l’Air in 2021.
─ See the book on the editor’s website

Meeting with the photographs

Dialogue between Marion Gronier and Gosette Lubondo who present two very different aesthetics while dealing with the same issues in relation to the identity of a country in connection with the history of the country.

Interview realised at the opening in September 2022

La presse en parle

  • “Marion Gronier et Gosette Lubondo réveillent les mémoires”
    ─ par Ana Corderot
    ─ Fisheye Magazine / Septembre 2022

    Read the publication

À voir aussi

Gosette Lubondo

En parallèle à l’exposition de Marion Gronier, Gosette Lubondo recrée de façon poétique et troublante les souvenirs de l’histoire de son pays, le Congo, de la période coloniale au palais du président Mobutu dans la jungle.

Voir l’exposition