Born in 1969 in Montbrison, a small town at the foot of the Forez Hills in the Loire department, France, Christophe Agou left France in 1992 and settled in New York. This early voluntary exile, an urge to immerse himself in a completely different world, is typical of the work that Christophe Agou has been developing over the last twenty years: an intuitive and empirical exploration of universes, situations and people that he comes to understand by a gradual process of absorption, not realizing it has happened until he finds himself resonating intimately with them.
Working with equal ease from black and white to color, from landscape to portrait, he does not favor any style, ensuring constantly to renew his statements and the forms of his own vision. He came to the notice of international critics for several works, particularly his series of images on subway passengers in New York. The photographs evoke a sense of longing and isolation. The result of this work has been carried out in a book and published “Life Below” in 2004.
Over the years, Christophe Agou has been extending his expression into other media, always working intuitively, making assemblages, multimedia installations, films and writing short stories. In the winter of 2002, Christophe Agou returned to his native Forez and roamed through the harsh landscape there; it had never left his mind. Over time and through the gradual process of building trust and friendship, the farmers and their families accepted him, allowing him to both photograph and film their daily existence. The resulting body of work, “Face au Silence” (“In the Face of Silence”), was awarded the 17th European Publishers Award for Photography.
2014 frames – glasgow international art festival – center for contemporary arts – uk war/photography – brooklyn museum – new york
2013 les faits secondaires – les promenades photographiques de vendôme war/photography – corcoran gallery of art – washington d.c. war/photography – annenberg space for photography – los angeles war/photography – museum of fine arts – houston life below/in-public – thailand creative & design center – banghok
2012 face au silence – musée d’art roget quilliot (marq) – clermont-ferrand face au silence – bredaphoto international photography festival – netherlands life below / in-public – tel aviv international photography festival
2011 face au silence – galerie fait & cause – paris face au silence – les rencontres internationales d’arles face au silence – angkor international photography festival life below – format festival – derby museum and art gallery – uk
2010 multimedia presentation/artist talk – jeu de paume – paris in-public @ 10 – photofusion gallery – london street photography now – galerie lichblick – cologne street photography now – third floor gallery – cardiff
2009 life below – ‘visionaris’ – museum of art pilar & joan miro – palma de mallorca
2008 face au silence – voies off des rencontres d’arles face au silence – shenyang international photography festival – china
2007 l’evénement – jeu de paume – paris remembering – new york historical society museum
2006 life below – galerie fnac – monaco life below – galerie fnac forum des halles – paris inside out – french trotters galerie – paris
2005 trace & omens – noorderlicht photography festival – netherlands life below – galerie fnac – gand; belgium life below – splitgraphic art biennial – croatia life below – guilin international photography festival – china
2004 life below – galerie fnac – barcelona life below – galerie fnac – mulhouse life below – galerie fnac – annecy
2003 bearing witness to history – national museum of american history – d.c. life below – galerie fnac – brest life below – galerie fnac – la défense, paris
2002 life in the city – museum of modern art – new york fotofest – museum of fine arts – houston life below – galerie fnac – nancy life below – galerie fnac – tours
la bibliothèque nationale de france (bnf) musée d’art roger quilliot (marq) museum of fine arts de houston neuberger museum of art smithsonian national museum of american history the akron art museum akron southeast museum of photography the new york public library the frances lehman loeb art center the new-york historical society galeries photo-fnac the joy of giving something
fellowships & awards
rhône-alpes cinéma 2014 centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée 2013 centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée 2012 european publishers award for photography [epap] 2010 le prix kodak de la critique photographique – special prize 2009 tops photography award 2008 the w. eugene smith grant in humanistic photography – finalist 2006 ai-ap american photography award 2002 magazine picture of the year – honorable mention 2002 project competition – santa fe prize for photography 2000 attention talent photo award fnac paris 1999
symposiums & talks
international center for photography, new york jeu de paume, paris aperture foundation, new york nyu, new york university school of visual arts, new york city university of new york les rencontres d’arles