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Opening Passages : Gallery Talk at the Chicago Cultural Center


Karim Kal (self portrait), Tonika Lewis Johnson ©Nyjah Johnson, Marion Poussier ©Leila Graindorge, Jonathan Michael Castillo ©Daniel Hud, Gilberto Güiza-Rojas ©Julia Amarger

Chicago Cultural Center
77 E Randolph street
Chicago, IL 60602

May 8, 2024 Noon


Join us for a Gallery Talk inside the exhibition Opening Passages : Photographers Respond to Chicago and Paris at The Chicago Cultural Center.

Curators Carl Fuldner and Pascal Beausse (Cnap) will host a conversation between Jonathan Michael Castillo, Gilberto Güiza-Rojas, Tonika Lewis Johnson, Karim Kal and Marion Poussier. The discussion will focus on documentary strategies for representing communities.

This multi-site photographic exhibition brings together ten series by French and American photographers that survey the dynamic social landscapes of Chicago and Paris. It is produced by Villa Albertine and its City/Cité program and is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities.
Since 2021, the Paris-Chicago dialogue has been flourishing under the umbrella of Clichycago: a platform for community-based cultural exchange and artistic experimentation, with the support of the Ateliers Médicis in Clichy-sous-Bois / Montfermeil (France) and Villa Albertine in Chicago.

Carl Fuldner

Carl Fuldner is a Chicago-based art historian and curator whose work engages photography’s role in shaping environmental perspectives. He holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Chicago, where he also currently teaches as an Assistant Instructional Professor in the Master of Art Program in the Humanities and the Department of Art History. He is also a co-editor of The Art Institute of Chicago Field Guide to Photography and Media, published in 2023.

Pascal Beausse

Pascal Beausse is Head of the photography collection at the Centre national des arts plastiques (Paris). With Anna Labouze, Keimis Henni and Clément Postec, he curated the Regards du Grand Paris exhibition in 2022, presenting the works of 38 photographers who were laureates of the eponymous photographic commission launched in 2016, with the aim of building up, year after year, a corpus of images and authors’ views on the evolution of the Greater Paris.

Jonathan Michael Castillo

Recipient in 2023 of the Chicagoland Seen grant commission funded by the Chicago chapter of the Albertine Foundation, Jonathan Michael Castillo is a visual artist based in Chicago whose projects focus on people, place and social issues.  He is a former Diane Dammeyer Fellow in Photographic Arts and Social Issues, was included in the 2021 Hyde Park Art Center’s Ground Floor Biennial and recently commissioned by the City of Chicago to create a permanent installation of his work at O’Hare International Airport.  His work has been featured with The New Yorker, Wired, The Chicago Tribune and CBS: Los Angeles. He has discussed his photography on the BBC’s “World Update” and Los Angeles public radio programs KPCC and KCRW.  Exhibitions include those at the Art Institute Chicago, Photo LA 2020 and the Center for Creative Photography.
Since 2017, he has been traversing Chicago and its suburbs, photographing the interiors of immigrant-owned shops and the people who run them. His series Immigrant Owned presents a unique cross-section of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods visualized through an eclectic mix of businesses.

Yuzhen, Yummy Yummy Noodles, Chicago (Chinatown), series Immigrant Owned, 2022 © Jonathan Michael Castillo

Gilberto Güiza-Rojas

Gilberto Güiza-Rojas is a Colombian Visual Artist based in Paris. He addresses societal challenges such as job invisibility and deteriorating working conditions, using allegory and performance to reflect on the contemporary world of work. He was awarded the 2021 Contemporary Documentary Photography Support Grant from the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap) and the 2018 National Photographic Commission of the Regards du Grand Paris, led by Ateliers Médicis and Cnap.
In his series Territoire-Travail [Territory-Work], workers perform an idealized vision of manual labor superimposed against remote urban backdrops, representing what he calls “gestures of insertion.” Through these staged performances, individuals re-enact gestures tied to their former occupations against transformed settings, hinting at the vestiges of their former lives.

Afpa, responsable d’entreprise de transport, série Territoire Travail [Afpa, Transportation Manager, series Territory-work], 2018, ©Gilberto Güiza-Rojas

Tonika Lewis Johnson

2023 laureate of the national photographic commission Regards du Grand Paris, led by the Ateliers Médicis in collaboration with the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap), Tonika Johnson is a photographer and social justice artist from Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. She explores urban segregation and challenges media portrayals of violence in the city through her art. Recognized citywide in recent years, she was named the National Public Housing Museum’s 2021 Artist as Instigator, currently working on her project Inequity for Sale, highlighting the historical context of Greater Englewood homes sold through Land Sale Contracts in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 2018, Johnson posed a question to teenagers of color on Chicago’s South Side: “Where have you felt you didn’t belong?” She photographed them in those places and recorded their stories. When invited to a residency in Clichy-sous-Bois by Ateliers Médicis, she expanded her Belonging series into a transatlantic conversation about racial divisions in urban areas.

Jason, Hyde Park, Chicago, 18, series Belonging, 2019 ©Tonika Lewis Johnson

Karim Kal

2017 laureate of the national photographic commission Regards du Grand Paris, led by the Ateliers Médicis in collaboration with the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap), Karim Kal was trained at the Grenoble School of Fine Arts. He initially focused on portrait photography before shifting to capturing public spaces, particularly at night. However, human presence remains central in his work, which revolves around the imprints left by culture and history. His pieces have been included in the collections of the National Fund for Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Saint-Etienne Metropolis (MAMC+), FRAC Auvergne, and the National Museum of the History of Immigration. In 2023, he was awarded the prestigious Henri Cartier Bresson photography prize.
With Ligne Dée [Dee Line], he critically examines areas left behind by the great urbanist and political projects of the past. Despite the apparent emptiness within the images, the objects and visual elements that are present offer clues to socio-economic tensions and to the life that permeates this landscape.

Le squelette [The Squeleton], 2017 (c)Karim Kal

Marion Poussier

Marion Poussier graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumière, she is represented by Galerie du Jour agnès b. Her photographs have been exhibited in France and abroad. In 2006, she was awarded the Lucien and Rodolf Hervé prize for her series Un été, that was exhibited the same year at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie (Arles) and joined various prestigious public and private collections. Marion Poussier was awarded the Académie des Beaux Arts prize for her family series, which is the subject of a new monograph published by Editions Filigranes. In 2021 she was a laureate of the national photographic commission Regards du Grand Paris initiated by the Cnap and Ateliers Médiciswith her series On est là. That same year, the Hôtel Fontfreyde – center for photography in Clermont-Ferrand hosted a retrospective of her work entitled Un chant d’amour.

In her On est là series, she focuses on the various redevelopment programs for the banks of the Saint-Denis canal, capturing a form of bodily resistance in these spaces subjected to a process of rationalization.

Simona, Aubervilliers, série On est là, [We are here], 2021 ©Marion Poussier

In partnership with


The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city — to strengthen and celebrate Chicago.

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Ateliers Médicis

Located in Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil, in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, the Ateliers Médicis endeavors to promote new and diverse artistic voices. Its artistic residencies, open to artists working in any artistic field, support the creation of works conceived in collaboration with French territories and fosters encounters between artists and inhabitants.


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Institut français

The Institut français is responsible for France’s international cultural program. Supervised by both the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and by the Ministry of Culture, it promotes French culture abroad through cultural exchange initiatives. Operating in a space where the arts, intellectual exchange, cultural and social innovation, and linguistic partnerships interact and intersect, it is also responsible for promoting the French language and the sharing of works, artists, and ideas all over the world. The Institut français is one of Villa Albertine’s main French partners.

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Terra Foundation for the American Arts

In partnership with organizations and individuals locally and globally, the Terra Foundation fosters intercultural dialogues and encourages transformative practices to expand narratives of American art. Art Design Chicago is an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art in partnership with artists and organizations across the city that highlight the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities.

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Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap)

The Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap) is a public institution under the French Ministry of Culture. It manages over 105,000 works from France’s national contemporary art collection, the Fonds national d’art contemporain. It aims to support and promote artistic creation in France, and assists artists and art professionals with their projects.


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JCDecaux operates coordinated street furniture franchises in major cities across the U.S., including here in New York. It is continuously working to connect information to stakeholders and identify municipal innovations to enhance the livability and sustainability of streetscapes. A member of the JCDecaux Group, the number one outdoor advertising company in the world, which through its three business segments – street furniture, transport and billboard, has engaged in a virtuous, sustainable business model since its founding in 1964.
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