Three contemporaries – but each very different from the others and each practising his craft in a way that allots a different function to photography. All of them, however, work in the documentary field and are in their own ways typical of Galerie VU’ eclecticism, with a keen eye for stylistic innovation, a rejection of the decorative, and clear-cut points of view.
A graduate of the National School of Photography in Arles, Mathieu Pernot has always has always questioned memory. From the harrowing history of the Gypsies to scarred cityscapes stripped of their residents, his chronicles are marked by rigorous formal exploration. Thanks to the Niépce Museum in Chalons-sur-Saône, which originally produced and exhibited this exhibition, the Rencontres are able to present the dialogue Pernot sets up between his own black and white view camera images. The recent demolition of giant apartment blocks, mainly in the Paris suburbs and the tinted postcards that flaunted the “modernity” of these buildings in the 60s and 70s. This is at once coverage of a social and a town-planning reality and a reflection of our image of the city and the way we have perceived and experienced it.
From Slovakia, Martin Kollar has brought colour and a rare sense of humour to bear on the countries of Central Europe during their transition from the communist past to the triumphant capitalism of today. These are images that make us smile and sometimes laugh out loud; but in addition to the stories it tells, the series comes across as a meditation on the way radical change can project us into situations of disquieting absurdity. Out of this accumulation of photographs springs deep doubt about a real world in a state of disequilibrium.
Overly subjective, mixing colour with black and white, and prey to the same doubt and disquiet, Arja Hyytiainen has opted for portraying an unstable, ramshackle world inhabited by strange beings. Her images set up an encounter between the anxieties of her inner world and their equivalents in external reality.
Each of these photographers speaks to us in his or her own way while continuing to explore the possibilities of the medium.
VU’ La Galerie