Movements of Air Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904) Photographer of Fluids

From October 19th, 2004 to January 16th, 2005 -
Musée d'Orsay
1, rue de la Légion d'Honneur 75007 Paris
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Etienne-Jules Marey-Plan incliné, angle de 60 degrés, quatrième et dernière version de la machine à fumée, équipée de 57 canaux
Etienne-Jules Marey
Plan incliné, angle de 60 degrés, quatrième et dernière version de la machine à fumée, équipée de 57 canaux, 1901
Paris, Cinémathèque française
© Cinémathèque française / DR

On the occasion of the centenary of his death, this exhibition pays homage to Etienne-Jules Marey with a little-known aspect of his work, the study of air movement by means of a "smoke machine" he devised and of instant photography.
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 Mostly part of the collections of the Cinemathèque Française, they are hitherto unpublished material and some of them have never been shown since their creation.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.
Detailed presentation

The exhibition is now over.

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Detailed presentation of the exhibition