Making Light of Everything @ Centre de la photographie Genève

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Intimacy is a concept that is often difficult to define, intangible and elusive. It can be found in a childhood memory, in the interior of one’s home or neighbourhood, in the gestures exchanged with loved ones, but also in the familiarity with an image, or in the attachment to an object, a material or a texture.

Without directly showing situations that are immediately identifiable as intimate, how can photography express a relationship with this feeling, its fleeting and impalpable nature? How can it portray the relationship with memory, which is inevitably fallible, the often complex and changing links with loved ones, or the relationship with a home whose familiarity can turn strange at any moment?

While fabricated or manipulated images are often associated with the misappropriation of public opinion or the representation of fictional universes, they are here explored for their potential to reveal our subjectivity and our relationship with reality. How can we recount our memories, express our connection to loved ones, or make our sensibilities tangible?

Through elaborate processes of image manipulation, the artists in this exhibition make visible, capture or fix a form of intimacy, from the most personal expression of an emotion to the automated interpretation of human relationships by a machine. Whether made with coloured paper, generated by artificial intelligence, created entirely in the photographic laboratory or the result of meticulous photomontage, the images brought together for this exhibition reflect their author’s tenacious experimentation, conveying emotions that are sometimes frivolous, sometimes profound. Their explicitly fabricated nature – without any hierarchy being drawn here between cut-out paper and the most sophisticated image-generating tools – highlights the sometimes strange dimension of what is most familiar to us. Through their exploratory processes and complex architecture, the artists reveal the complex mechanisms by which we apprehend the world, bearing subtle and delicate witness to the manifestation of our individual subjectivities.

The work of Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah, Mathieu Bernard-Reymond and Sara De Brito Faustino investigates the links between fabricated images and memory. Adu-Sanyah and Bernard-Reymond use artificial intelligence to recreate or visualise memories, paying particular attention to the materiality of the resulting photographs, while De Brito Faustino reconstructs her childhood homes with models that she then rephotographs. Their works highlight the salient but sometimes fallible, strange and reconstructed nature of memories.

Emma Bedos, Alina Frieske and Moritz Jekat use visual technologies such as photogrammetry, photomontage and video games to investigate intimate, family and love relationships. The places associated with a romantic relationship, the geographical distance from loved ones and the digital interfaces that bridge it, or the private and public circulations of personal images are all addressed in projects where the image takes on experimental and unexpected forms.

Leigh Merrill, the duo Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, and Martin Widmer share a certain approach, meticulously constructing and reconstructing spaces with different techniques of collage and superposition. Both Onorato & Krebs and Widmer work in a self-reflexive way, using their own images as a starting point, while Merrill uses collage to reshape familiar urban spaces.

In some of the artists in the exhibition, the intimate manifests itself in a strong relationship with their own work. For Jessica Backhaus and Peter Hauser, the link to the very making of the image through analogue processes – working with coloured papers for Backhaus and in the analogue laboratory for Hauser – reflects an intimacy of practice itself, in delicate experimentations with shapes, textures and materials. Finally, in Charlie Engman’s work, a form of vulnerability emerges from the visual experiments carried out with artificial intelligence and their failure to reproduce representations of bodily intimacy, in particular hugs, which furthermore resonates strangely with personal photographs.

For more information, visit Centre de la photographie Genève.

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