Patti Smith has been one of the great voices of music since the 1960’s and at the center of the cultural life in New York. Her circle of friends included photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, playwright Sam Shepard, Bruce Springsteen, among many others. She was married to MC5 frontman Fred “Sonic” Smith. Smith has released 13 albums including the iconic Horses and the song which has become an anthem around the world, Because the Night, written with a young Bruce Sprinsteen. In recent years, she has also published a number of best-sellers like Just Kids and M Train. 

Since her teenage years, Patti Smith has been a great admirer of Arthur Rimbaud’s  poetry which has greatly influenced her. She wrote: “ I was 16 when I discovered Arthur Rimbaud. I was attracted by his face and his poems. They intrigued and fascinated me. Under the spell of their intoxicating charm, I would emerge shaken from reading them, not remembering much of what I had read. Nevertheless, his words were imprinted in my brain, curled like ropes on the deck of a ship abandoned in a deathly fog. Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell) was the drug of my younger years, the potion containing the tools and the method to topple the false idols. Such is the intoxicating power of poetry.” To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of A Season in Hell, first released in 1873, Patti Smith is showing photos, writing, drawings in Paris, at the Galerie Gallimard, the celebrated publishing house, on Paris’ Left Bank. The show is also featuring 50 Polaroid images from her daily journal she’s publishing on the occasion of the exhibition. Her work in black and white is mysterious and poetic. The photos are a reflection of her spirit more than a visual diary. The young Arthur Rimbaud, who died at age 37, would have no doubt loved to hang out with Patti Smith. Her images would have rekindled his love for poetry. Jean-Sébastien Stehli

PATTI SMITH. PHOTOGRAPHIE, ÉCRITS, DESSINS

5 SEPTEMBRE – 7 OCTOBRE 2023

Galerie Gallimard 30 - 32, rue de l’Université. 7th arrondissement. 

August 31, 2023 — Jean Sebastien Stehli