Lovers of France where he worked a lot and was recognized very early on, the internationally renowned photographer Michael Kenna donated, by notarized agreement signed on November 10, 2022, his entire photographic work to the French State. It will be kept by the Médiathèque du patrimoine et de la photographie (MPP) at Fort Saint-Cyr in Montigny-le-Bretonneux (Yvelines).
The Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, made the announcement during Paris Photo. She thanks him for this exceptional donation and testifies to him the immense gratitude of our country, which is committed to preserving and valuing its work in the best possible conditions. The entry of such a fund into our French public collections is an element of national pride. It reinforces France’s dynamism and influence in the field of photography ». The Minister wished to honour Michael Kenna by promoting him as an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters and presenting him with his insignia as part of Paris Photo.
The donation concerns the photographer’s entire work: 3,683 original prints made in 43 different countries, the negatives and digitizations corresponding to these prints, 175,000 other negatives accompanied by the corresponding contact plates, 6,422 work prints from 1983-2000, 1,280 Polaroid prints, catalogues printed on his work and all archives relating to his artistic activity over the past 46 years. It is accompanied by rights of production and representation of images. Michael Kenna had already consented to the State a donation of his memorial work on the Nazi camps carried out between 1988 and 2000, which is already preserved in the Mediatheque du patrimoine et de la photographie (MPP).
Born in 1953 in England, settled in the United States since the late 1970s, Michael Kenna is now recognized as one of the masters of the black and white landscape. Apart from fashion phenomena as well as aesthetic dogmatism, he built a corpus centered on the interaction between natural landscapes and landscapes where man left traces. Working in silver, he makes all his prints himself.
His work has been the subject of more than 500 monographic exhibitions around the world, including nearly 40 in France. His work on France is currently on display at Rambouillet Castle (Yvelines) until January 9, 2023, under the auspices of the National Monuments Centre. The exhibition Trees / Arbres will open its doors on 19 November at the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire. Michael Kenna is also the author of a hundred publications.
The press kit of the Michael Kenna donation is available for viewing and download below: