Luce Lebart

Mold is Beautiful


Mold is the enemy number one of archives. It constitutes a risk factor and an agent of damage that has to be fought. In this regard, its creative potential is unfairly forgotten and yet, since the dawn of time, the transformative power of micro-organisms has been utilized to produce wine, beer and cheese.

In a text written in 1856 by Victor Regnault, a chemist and the first president of the French Society of Photography, dedicated to researching the stability of the photographic process, he insisted that only time could determine the maintenance of a particular photographic process.


Created by negligence and lack of interest, these images that were damaged by an earlier flood and deprived of light over many yearsturned into wonders of oblivion. In the solitude of confinement, the organic resources employed in their photographic processing (gelatin and potato starch) acted as a breeding ground for random creative proliferation. Today, displayed for viewing, they remind us that the aesthetic qualities of a photograph are decidedly independent of the will of the artist

(Luce Lebart)


Born in Asnieres-sur-Seine, France, she lives and works in Paris. A historian, curator and author, she is also the director of the French Society of Photography’s collections. Her work alludes to photography, experimentation and the aesthetic of tests and alterations. Her work involves the restoration of forgotten collections. She recently published La guerre des gossesby Léon Gimpeland, with Poursuite, edited the books Beautésd’archive, Souvenirs du Sphinx andMold is Beautiful. Her next book, Lady Liberty, will be published in the context of the exhibition jointly curated with Sam Stourdzéfor Les Rencontres d’Arles 2016.


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