The inventor among other things of chronophotography, this famous physiologist devoted his life to the study of movement in all its forms: animal and human locomotion, blood circulation, displacement of objects and fluids, gravity.
Marey was one of the first theoreticians of aeronautics, the study of which led him to his aesthetic apotheosis during the years 1899-1902. His last major works were devoted to the observation and instant photography of smoke currents produced in his "smoke machine", one of the first modern aerodynamic wind tunnels, showing the diverse shapes of wisps of smoke according to the obstacle encountered in their trajectory.
The shots thus made by Marey, fantastical images combining science and dream, poetry and technique, are aesthetic masterpieces that belong equally to the history of art, of photography, of aeronautics and aerodynamics. Mostly part of the collections of the Cinemathèque Française, they are hitherto unpublished material and some of them have never been shown since their creation. Several "smoke machines" are presented along with original plates and photographic prints.
Laurent Mannoni, curator in charge of the collections of the Cinémathèque française
Dominique de Font-Reaulx, curator, Musée d'Orsay
Exhibition by the Musée d'Orsay and the Cinémathèque française, with the patronage of the Collège de France
Exhibition organised as part of the Mois de la Photo à Paris, November 2004