Edition 2012

The 2011 photofolio review winner

Sylvia Ballhause


In each of her works, Sylvia Ballhause studies both the aspects of photographic images and the conditions of their production. Most of the time, this research brings about the fortuitous or fervently desired discovery of a mysterious image or of an exceptional photographic apparatus. In her current works, she probes, in different ways, the boundaries of photographic art. To do so, she uses known or unknown historical materials, as well as experimental processes or cameras. Hence, for example, with Triptyque Daguerre de Munich (Daguerre Triptych of Munich), she not only questions the photographs’ ephemeral nature, but also the relationship between reproduction and original, fact and artefact, medium and image. This leads her to also take an interest in the famous concept of the ‘aura’, introduced by Walter Benjamin. With a special camera, supposedly capable of capturing this invisible aura, she visualises the impossibility of a concrete representation of the concept, as well as photography’s desire to make the invisible visible. All in all, Sylvia Ballhause is searching for the irrational. Her works oscillate between logical explanations and illogical apparitions. In so doing, she breaks photography’s positioning in the real world by making it slide towards a partly abstract and partly figurative reproduction of a world deprived of reality. Although, in the first instance, each of the images speaks a different language and highlights different aspects, when looking more closely, the many connections maintained between the images become obvious. This artist hence visually creates a complexity drawn from the theoretical debate about photography.

Sylvia Ballhause

Prints by the artist.
Framing by the artist.
Exhibition produced with the support of the Fnac.
Exposition venue: Église Saint-Blaise.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture