Last Whispers – Oratorio for Vanishing Voices at the LACMA museum and Ford Theatres in Los Angeles (art collaboration with Lena Herzog)

Screening on Friday, June 14, 2019 at 8:00pm
Ford Theatre
2580 Cahuenga Blvd East
Hollywood, CA 90068

VR experience on Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 11:00am to 6:00pm
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Art of the Americas Building, Level 2
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

An immersive experience, Last Whispers – Oratorio for Vanishing Voices, Collapsing Universes & a Falling Tree is simultaneously a spatially-designed sound composition and film. Dedicated to the mass extinction of languages, the project was created by Lena Herzog and features sound design by award-winning sound designers Mark Mangini and Marco Capalbo and original aerial drone videography by Tomas van Houtryve.

At an unprecedented speed, faster than the extinction of some species, our linguistic diversity—the very means by which we know ourselves—is eroding. Today, a majority of the world’s population speaks only 30 of the 7,000 languages remaining on earth. It is estimated that at least half of the currently spoken languages will have died by the end of this century. In fact, a language dies every two weeks. By definition, this loss occurs in silence, since silence is the very form of this extinction. Last Whispers is an invocation of that which has gone extinct and an incantation of those that are endangered.

Also on July 15 at 2:00pm at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA CEO Michael Govanwill speak with Lena Herzog about her practice and Last Whispers in LACMA’s Bing Theater.


Gallery Interview Video: Lines and Lineage for Baudoin Lebon solo exhibition in Paris

 In conjunction with the Lines and Lineage solo exhibition at the Baudoin Lebon gallery in Paris, I was interviewed about the work on display. In the video, I explain the motivation for the Lines and Lineage, the artistic approach and the 19th-century photographic technique. My Divided video installation is also briefly explained.  The video was filmed by Antoine Mossessian…  read more.

Leica Akademie Masterclass in Arles, Choosing your photographic approach, July 2-3, 2019

  Leica Akademie Masterclass – Choosing your photographic approach (version française en bas) 2-3 July 2019 Arles France Limited to 10 participants. Price 350 Euros Taught by Tomas van Houtryve This two-day workshop will help photographers find a unique artistic approach and apply it to their work. Through a combination of case studies, shooting sessions and editing, participants will cover…  read more.

Review: L’Oeil de la Photographie on Lines and Lineage

Corresponding with the solo exhibition of Lines and Lineage in Paris, L’Œil de la Photographie published a review of the work.  Copied below is the french version. Access the article in english here.   “Dans son dernier ouvrage, Tomas van Houtryve s’est fixé une tâche difficile: créer des photographies qui reflètent une période de l’histoire américaine qui n’existe pas. Il…  read more.


Vernissage de l’exposition Lines and Lineage à Paris, mercredi 15 mai 2019

Vernissage de l’exposition Lines and Lineage mercredi 15 mai 2019, de 18h à 21h.

galerie baudoin lebon
8 rue Charles François-Dupuis
75003 Paris


À propos de l’exposition

Baudoin Lebon est fier de présenter cette nouvelle exposition Lines and Lineage autour du travail de Tomas van Houtryve.

Artiste pluridisciplinaire, journaliste également, il est difficile de ranger son travail dans une seule case. En effet, son œuvre mêle avec brio une vision documentaire, souvent fruit d’un long travail sur le terrain, ainsi qu’un développement continu de sa technique et des possibilités esthétiques qui en découlent.

Lines and Lineage en est un exemple flagrant. Cette série explore le mythe identitaire américain créé à la suite de la guerre du Mexique en 1848.

En utilisant un appareil de photographies du XIXè siècle et le procédé du négatif sur verre collodion humide, il propose de représenter la population mexicaine spoliée par ce conflit, ce qui n’avait jamais été fait auparavant. Bien que limité aux témoignages des descendants de cette communauté et aux territoires, il parvient à interroger une histoire et une mémoire (de 1848 à nos jours) souvent ensevelies par les mythes américains dominants. Au-delà de l’aspect documentaire, Tomas van Houtryve, grâce à son œil et à sa sensibilité artistique, ne retranscrit pas seulement une part de l’Histoire mais une histoire humaine faite de portraits et de lieux bouleversants.

L’installation vidéo Divided, poursuit à son tour sa réflexion sur les conséquences de la guerre du Mexique mais dans sa forme, s’offre au spectateur comme une œuvre abstraite et métaphorique. La répétition des vagues qui se divisent au contact de cette frontière (une barrière de métal s’étendant dans l’océan Pacifique entre les Etats-Unis et le Mexique), transforme une œuvre assurément politique, en une expérience esthétique hypnotique et envoûtante.

Une des grandes qualités de son travail est cette capacité à toujours explorer de nouvelles techniques artistiques et de ne jamais se laisser enfermer seulement par son sujet. Dans ses précédents travaux, il a déjà eu recours à l’utilisation de caméras thermiques, d’installations vidéos et même de drones. La forme et le fond vont toujours de pair pour renforcer la puissance de son propos et provoquer de véritables chocs esthétiques.


• carton d’invitation

• dossier de presse

Lines and Lineage wins France’s 2019 Roger Pic Award

  My Lines and Lineage series of photos about the missing photographic history of the American West is the winner of France’s prestigious 2019 Roger Pic Award. For the 27th edition of the award, there was a tie, and the jury selected two award winners. The other winner is Denis Dailleux for his series ln Ghana – We shall meet…  read more.

Solo show

Lines and Lineage solo show in Paris, Baudoin Lebon gallery

Lines and Lineage solo exhibition from 16 May to 29 June prolonged to 29 July, 2019

galerie baudoin lebon
8 rue Charles François-Dupuis
75003 Paris

Tel.+ 33 (0)1 42 72 09 10


About the work

Lines and Lineage takes aim at America’s collective amnesia of history. The work addresses the missing photographic record of the period when Mexico ruled what we now know as the American West. To visualize the people and places from the remarkable yet unseen Mexican era, I chose to photograph the region with glass plates and a 19th-century wooden camera. Portraits of direct descendants of early inhabitants of the West—mestizo, Afro-Latin, indigenous, Crypto-Jewish—are paired with photographs of landscapes inside the original border and architecture from the Mexican period. Lines and Lineage lifts the pervasive fog of dominant Western mythology and makes us question the role that photographs—both present and missing—have played in shaping the identity of the West.



Reviews and praise for Lines and Lineage

“…Using a North American map from 1839 (the same year that photography is thought to have made its debut in Europe), Mr. van Houtryve traveled along Mexico’s old northern border to meet families who have lived in the region for centuries.

His equipment in the Instagram age? A 19th-century camera he found in a Paris antique shop. He stocked up on the glass plates and pungent potions needed for the wet-collodion process, a technique invented in 1851. Doing so, Mr. van Houtryve conjures what the West may have looked like in the Mexican era…”

— Simon Romero in The New York Times


“His portraits are carefully researched and historically relevant – all of his subjects are descendants of the area’s original Mexican inhabitants. Quiet and dignified, the images pay tribute to Nadar, whose powerful portraits Van Houtryve admires. He focuses on his subjects’ eyes, conveying a sense of their interior life. He presents the work in diptychs that juxtapose portraits with romantic landscapes, reflecting an intimate connection between humans and nature…”

— Elisabeth Biondi in Photograph Magazine


“…Photographing the descendants of families who live on the once-Mexican territory, Van Houtryve proves their existence within a dominant narrative that often ignores them. Using traditional nineteenth century photographic techniques, like wet plate glass negatives, the artist taps into the aesthetic of the 1800s…”

— Zachary Small in Hyperallergic


About the gallery

The baudoin lebon gallery was founded in 1976 in Paris. It is a leading dealer of Modern and Contemporary Art, including painting, sculpture and the most significant international photography. The gallery supports radically different works with an enlightened eclecticism.


Download the exhibition invitation PDF.

CNN Publication: Paris after the smoke cleared

On April 15, 2019 a fire devastated the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Images of the spire and roof engulfed in flames were transmitted around the world, showing a symbol of France and a repository of history at a dramatic moment of distress. On assignment for CNN, I photographed the city of Paris after the smoke cleared. The story and…  read more.

The New York Times feature: Lines and Lineage

The New York Times featured my Lines and Lineage series on April 3, 2019. The article written by Simon Romero, national correspondent for the Times, is copied below:   What if Mexico Still Included California, Nevada and Texas? ALBUQUERQUE — Mention the border with Mexico these days and dystopian images might come to mind: Agents detaining children in a holding…  read more.