Luc Chessex lived in Cuba from 1961 to 1975. As a member of the Prensa Latina agency and photo editor for the magazine Cuba internacional, he was an involved witness of the revolution. The Musée de l'Elysée is presenting four series of photographs from that time: Cherchez la Femme [Search for the Woman], Le Visage de la Révolution [The Face of the Revolution], Che and Coca. The exhibition was created from numerous original prints, publications, press clippings and an unpublished book on Cuban women.
Cherchez la Femme, presented in Havana in 1966, is a work on Cuban women that goes beyond political discourse. It is also a reflection on photography, presented in Havana under the title "photo-lying", in contradiction to preconceived ideas about photography being a "mirror of the world".
Le Visage de la Révolution was published in 1969 by Swiss publisher Hans-Rudolph Lutz. It was a photo essay about representations of Fidel Castro on walls, on posters and in popular iconography. Luc Chessex avoids all propaganda by accompanying his work with "anti-captions", letting viewers interpret the images freely. This opens his work to a very contemporary interpretation.
The series Che and Coca are part of the project Quand il n’y a plus d’Eldorado [When There Is No More Eldorado], a retrospective of the photographer's work published in 1982. Che follows Che's traces in Bolivia, and Coca explores Coca-Cola's iconographic image. These two figures symbolically shared public spaces, where myths battled against advertisements in an ironic confrontation. Quand il n’y a plus d’Eldorado, a film by Claude Champion (1980), with texts by Jacques Pilet and created from photographs by Chessex, will be screened during the exhibition.