April 7 to May 5, 1991
Chagnon has always favoured photography that analyzes social trends. From 1983 to 1986, he devoted himself to an extensive study of young people in Montreal.
He worked slowly “first in public places, then in youth centres...I roamed the arcades and visited a comprehensive school, where I met a group of teenager who had just set up a heavy metal band, and a group of new wavers.
“I had a special feeling for them, as I still felt young myself. I may even have envied some of their characteristics: the desire to take risks, the quest for the absolute, the refusal of any compromise, the joy of living that often disappears with age.”
The photographs in this exhibition are works of observation, not a social or aesthetic statement. His search is for the spontaneous moment, the fortuitous happening. His objective is to draw as accurate and complete a portrait as possible of “youth.” His approach may be compared to a sociologist who draws up a list of trends, categories and environments, but refrains making judgements or drawing conclusions.
Chagnon avoids reducing all the richly diversified and complex groups that make up this group called teenagers, to a single label or a series of clichés.
Each photograph adds detail upon detail, resulting in a comprehensive portrait of adolescence. Beyond the description lies an attitude, a lifestyle that exists regardless of the individual’s affiliation. The desire to break away remains the only distinctive characteristic of, and is captured in, this series.
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