Every year, a small art fair called “A ppr oc he,” which coincides with Paris Photo, exhibits a select group of fifteen artists. For this third edition of the fair, its creators, Emilia Genuardi and Elsa Janssen, have joined forces with the art critic Etienne Hatt to spotlight a new generation of artists who are redefining the boundaries of photography.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the Grand Palais, “A ppr oc he” highlights the wealth of the photographic medium and the inventiveness of the young generation. The fifteen artists brought together at the Galerie Molière all use photography in their work but few call themselves photographers. And for a good reason: in their hands, photography undergoes spectacular transformations. Poisoned, woven, lithographed, overexposed, nailed, glued… photography is the raw material for experiments that are as complex as they are diverse.
Playing with the material
“A new history is taking shape,” writes Etienne Hatt in the editorial statement to this year’s fair. A glance at the exhibited works is enough to realize that photography has taken a new turn. Or rather, it has broken several new paths. And one of them has to do with materiality. Convinced that images, excessively confined to screens and trapped in the unstoppable flow of social networks, have lost any meaning, many artists feel the need to make them once again tangible. But rather than simply return to standard photo paper, they explore new media and new techniques. For example, Cathryn Bloch stitches together reclaimed maps to foreground the borders of migration territories. Similarly, Dougas Mandry prints views of glaciers from the 1920s on geotextiles, a type of fabric employed to prevent the melting away of glaciers. The juxtaposition of photographs taken to promote Alpine tourism and textiles meant to protect those same endangered topographic features creates a tragic and moving dialog. Lastly, like alchemists of the image, some artists explore, within the walls of their lab, the photographic medium. This is the origin of Laure Tiberghien’s colorful tableaus, Anaïs Boudot’s landscapes on glass, and Thomas Paquet’s celestial cyanotypes.
A new way of telling
By renouncing the classical practice of photography—which consists in creating images of the world around us—these artists have created a new way of telling, or explaining, the world. One is surprised to discover Lindsay Caldicott’s fascinating collages. The artist died at the age of 58 and had spent the last twenty-four years of her life in a psychiatric institution. Viewed from afar, her meticulously crafted collages seem to represent fantastic, skillfully assembled shapes: entangled, carved up, tortured bodies x-rayed or portrayed in medical journals. All these works evoke the artist’s abused childhood and the anguish of internment. Caldicott’s creations are placed next to the work of South-African artist Lebohang Kganye who prints over her family photos. Like a translucent ghost she thus appears next to her family members whom she never met and whom she imitates in her gestures and bearing. Lastly, amid this abundance of creativity, we find Noé Sendas’s elegant work on the mythical god Hermes, a humble messenger between gods and humans, or rather between the invisible and the visible, not unlike this new brand of photographers.
By Coline Olsina
A ppr oc he 2019
From November 7 to 10, 2019
Galerie Le Molière, 40 rue de Richelieu, 75002 Paris