The 23rd edition of the Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography continues until June 2. With 27 exhibitions and 21 artists, it explores the unusual theme of “flood,” or inundation and overflow. While this theme is explored in the works included in this year’s edition, it can also be seen in the whole festival programme, which keeps photography at its centre while opening itself to other artistic disciplines such as performance, music and literature, and increasing the number of collaborations. The festival offers a survey of production in 2019, based on human and artistic dialogue.
Flood: A Wave of Images Sweeping Over Biel/Bienne
This year’s theme of “flood” is developed in various ways in works by the 2019 artists. Marion Tampon-Lajariette (Switzerland) offers an experience of the border between the internal and the external, the visible and the invisible, the real and the virtual. In her photographic diptychs, she presents cave mouths viewed from the inside that resemble eye sockets. Marc Renaud (Switzerland) took on the challenge of depicting electricity in images in his photoreportage series, tracing this form of energy back to its sources: water, wind and fossil fuels. The ideas of surveillance and reputation are at the heart of the work of Esther Hovers (Netherlands) and Indré Urbonaité (Lithuania). Hovers questions the use of cameras in public spaces, while Urbonaité isolates news images of people charged with crimes who are hiding their faces out of shame. In the era of selfies and facial recognition technology, portraits by Lisette Appeldorn (Netherlands), Alma Haser (Germany) and Pixy Liao (China) examine the place of the individual vis-à-vis his/her own image(s), in society and in the private sphere. David Gagnebin-de Bons (Switzerland) blurs the boundaries between dreams and reality by creating images of dreams (his own and those recounted to him) and enclosing them inside a box. Emmanuel Tussore uses Aleppo soap to sculpt ruins that become the symbol of destructive brute force – a vision of the world in which the idea of disappearance dominates. Midway between documentary photography and stagecraft, the work of Vanja Bucan (Slovenia) introduces human bodies into scenes of nature that are otherwise lush and untouched. The landscapes of Thibaut Brunet (France) could appear in the universe of a video game just as well as in German Romantic painting: with a filming apparatus similar to a scanner, he records a space and recreates it in a cloud of dots, a technique that blurs codes of representation. Finally the Zurich-based Matthias Gabi (Switzerland) revisits newspaper and advertising images to lead the viewer to see them from a new angle.
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