ART SEEN - Musée de l'Elysée; Memory of the Future
Uli Van Neyghem visits the Musée de l'Elysée
The Museum presently hosts two new exhibitions, impressively showing the modern and contemporary approach the new female director Tatyana Franck is envisioning for the future. It is very much in line with Lausanne's ambitious plans for 'Plateforme10', now the official name of the 'Pôle Muséal',which unites the Musée des Beaux Arts, the Design Museum, the Musée de l'Elysée/Museum of Photographic Art near the Lausanne train station on the grounds of the old 'Halle de Locomotives'.
The first of the two exhibitions that Franck has curated, 'The Memory of the Future', has the intention of opening up a dialogue between the work of the pioneers of photographic techniques (the past) and those of contemporary artists reviving the old know-how (the present), encouraging the visitor to observe the influence of the past on today's creations in this artistic medium.
The spectator comes across century-old processes such as daguerreotypes, negatives on dry waxed paper, tintypes, cyanotypes and holograms (the exhibition includes charts explaining the techniques), portraits and photographs of their inventors and respective Nobel prize winners and other pioneers of the medium). The dialogue between old works and those of contemporary photographers becomes even more exciting and revealing through this exhibition, as very often it is not evident at first glance whether you are looking at an old or a contemporary piece (at times we had to consult the info signs next to the work to be certain - just as an aside, you'll certainly want to bring your specs here if you need them as the explanations are written in extremely small print).
For any photographer (hobby or professional, including the young 'natives' of new technology) 'The Memory of the Future' with its dialogue between new and traditional techniques, must be a goldmine of inspiration, encouraging combinations of old and new to come up with their own unique visual language and style.
The 'Future' comes into the exhibition on the top floor of the building in form of a 3-D digitization technology developed by Lausanne's EPFL, making it possible to scan precious originals in order to be able to look at them with unprecedented precision, highlighting the different textures. Above all, this new technology enables the gallery to exhibit works that are very sensitive to light and difficult to move.
On another floor of the Elysée, visitors are able to discover a solo exhibition by Genevan photographer Steeve Iuncker with the title 'Into the World'. The collection of 35 photographs sketches a portrait of youth as it tries to find itself on the way from childhood to adulthood.
His pictures capture the acts of teenagers probing their way with acts of rebellion, risk-taking, seeking oblivion in form of alcohol or drugs, testing boundaries and transformative acts, such as tattoos or piercings.
Steeve Iuncker studied the fascinating subject of 'coming of age' for several years, zooming in on the lack of clearly defined rites of passage in today's modern times. The resulting photographs are intimate and tender, but at the same time somber and radical.
The Swiss photographer is known for his clear-sighted, realistic view on controversial subjects, whether he confronts himself with the crisis in Gaza or accompanies an Aids patient in the terminal phase, follows the police investigating crimes or reveals the world of plastic surgery.
To sum up the visit of the two new exhibitions at the Elysée Museum of Photographic Arts let me say that the 2 exhibitions open up a window into the fascinating medium of photography and its unique visual languages. For beginners and professionals of photography alike, it will be a highlight.
Where: Musée de l'Elysée (Photographic Art)
Avenue de l'Elysée 18
When: May - August 28, 2016
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 11:00 - 18:00
Tickets: Adults CHF 8, AVS CHF 6,-
Students: CHF 4
Free admission under age 16
Free admission on the first Saturday of the month
The museum has a small café where you can browse in books about photography and have a cup of coffee or drink with a small snack.
If you would like to combine the visit with a lovely meal with a view, walk the few steps through the park to the restaurant at the newly renovated Olympic Museum:
TOM Café (see photo).