Gilles Peress, Telex Iran

From September 17, 2014 to November 30, 2014

Gilles Peress has intransigently documented the darkest chapters of modern history, from the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the mass graves in Bosnia and Rwanda. In 1979, he went to Iran to photograph the revolution at its height, during the hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran. He captured the chaos and the contrasts between the various political and religious circles of influence, the turmoil in the cities, but also everyday scenes of trivia, irony or violence.

This work, in a reflexive, very controlled photographic language, resulted in the book Telex Iran (published by Aperture in 1984), now considered a major work in the history of photography. In it, Gilles Peress plays on categories and genres, juxtaposing images and texts in such a way as to create a dialectic that is at once tense and open, and reveals political and civil reality in all its complexity. Republished in 1997 by Scalo, the book has lost none of its seismic and incisive character and has remained highly topical in light of the most recent episodes in Iran’s turbulent history.

The Musée de l’Elysée is pleased to welcome into its collection the original prints from this second edition of Telex Iran, thanks to the generous gift from a private collection. A selection from these 100 prints created in 1997 for the Scalo edition will be shown in this exhibition produced in collaboration with Gilles Peress.

Gilles Peress, Telex Iran | Video of the exhibition