The Musée de l’Elysée participates in societal debates that redefine both the way we see photography and the role of photographers today. From October 17, 2018, to January 27, 2019, two viewpoints focused on today’s world are juxtaposed: the photographed performances of Liu Bolin, the internationally acclaimed Chinese artist, and the images of Matthias Bruggmann, the Swiss photographer who pushes the boundaries between documentary and artistic photography.
Dedicated to the production and support of contemporary photography both in Switzerland and abroad, the Musée de l’Elysée pursues its commitment to photographers who observe the events that shape our world and reveal the complexity of society. “The role of an institution like ours is to encourage exploration and exchanges around the major issues of our time thanks to the work of artists who portray the world as it is, its troubles, its challenges and its dangers, as well as the hope of improving it by understanding it better. Pertinent and committed, the photographs of Liu Bolin and Matthias Bruggmann have the same purpose: to develop a lasting awareness in the greatest number of people possible”, emphasizes Tatyana Franck.
Even if the images produced by Liu Bolin and Matthias Bruggmann use very different visual languages, they both explore the photographer’s point of view: how does an artist commit himself to addressing the reality that surrounds him, whether it be geographically remote like the Syrian conflict in the case of Matthias Bruggmann, or very close like that of contemporary China for Liu Bolin?
Both artists propose a reflection on what their work reveals and on what it conveys. At the same time, Liu Bolin and Matthias Bruggmann raise some important questions: how can we interpret a photograph in order to get beyond appearances and to decipher the content of what we are shown? Both of them force the visitor to slow down and take the time to react, a time devoted to acquiring knowledge and understanding. It is their way to fight against the rapidity and the transience of images.
The first museum exhibition in Switzerland of Liu Bolin’s work, “The Theater of Appearances” brings together almost fifty monumental photographs and several sculptures illustrating the main themes addressed by the Chinese artist over his career: the political and economic strategies of the Chinese government, ancestral traditions and religious and cultural symbols, individual or collective acts of resistance, the transformation of the urban environment, ecological damage and a hyper-consumerist society.
Matthias Bruggmann is the winner of the second edition of the Prix Elysée with the support of Parmigiani Fleurier for his project on Syria. Hoping to "bring, to Western viewers, a visceral comprehension of the intangible violence that underlies conflict", he takes the gamble of hiding nothing in his explicit and brutal pictures. Taken in the field, they force the viewer to slow down and take stock of the war — geographically distant, admittedly, but made omnipresent by the media.
Live on social networks:
• #AskaPhotographer : live with Liu Bolin and Matthias Bruggmann in partnership with Le Temps Monday October 15, 6-6:45pm, on social networks
• Workshop Camouflage for the young public. Every Wednesday, 2-5:30pm, free, no registration required. Hide in a work that you have made and leave with a unique photograph!
Guided tour of the exhibitions with the curators and the photographers on Tuesday October 16, 10am
Tuesday October 16, 6pm
Liu Bolin. The Theatre of Appearences
Matthias Bruggmann. An act of unspeakable violence
From October 17, 2018 to January 27, 2019
Musée de l'Elysée
18, avenue de l'Elysée, 1014 Lausanne (Switzerland)