In 2008, the Prix HSBC was awarded to two French artists: Aurore Valade and Guillaume Lemarchal. The artistic advisor was Chantal Grandé, the owner and director of the Galerie Forvm in Tarragona, Spain. Once again, we’ll be talking to the winners about the experience and its impact on their careers. Today it’s Aurore Valade’s turn.
L’Œil de la Photographie : The Prix HSBC pour la Photographie turns 20 this year. It is awarded annually to two photographers to help them complete a project that will be exhibited and published as a monograph, often the artist’s first. What was your experience with the prize ?
Aurore Valade: It was a very intense and formative experience. The exhibitions came one after the other in a variety of contexts. The interactions with the team, the partners, the specialists and amateurs in the public, were very diverse, which allowed me to reflect on the content of my work and its presentation, and helped me grow as an artist. The Prix HSBC, by having me address the questions head-on, had a direct influence on my art.
LODLP : Can you tell us about your winning project? Has the prize had an influence on your subsequent work ?
A prize like this definitely has an impact on one’s career. For me, one of them was the experience itself, which allowed me to become more professional by participating in organizing the exhibitions and the promotional material. It also taught me a lot about how to put together a monograph of my work.
LODLP : Apart from the monograph, what impact did the prize have on your career? And what is your relationship like with HSBC today ?
I started working on the winning series, Intérieurs avec Figures, while still a student at the ENSP in Arles and kept at it for several years. I took a documentary approach to French interiors, exploring representation and staging in private space. Since this series, I have continued experimenting in this direction, pushing the research into narrative even further.
Since then, I’ve regularly participated in educational projects set up by the Fondation pour l’Education and the Fondation pour la photographie, as part of programs like “Des clics et des classes.” And I’ve always paid close attention to the winners of the Prix HSBC.
“Aurore Valade creates images where she plays with the illustration of the scenography.
She photographs people who interpret their own role, in their interior. These much elaborated pieces often show clichés, meaningful reflections of social, economic or cultural situations from our era but also certain values which question the limits of privacy. This confused and chaotic scenography aims to corrupt the subconscious of the viewer. The photographic act is conceived as a true performance which takes time: the meeting, the staging and the shot. The different rebuilt worlds tell us of the relationship between a dreamed form of life and a reality which wishes to escape the constraints of daily life or mediocrity. All whilst unveiling the intimate aspect of believable yet unlikely stories, Aurore Valade expresses her confidence in the inevitable tyranny of life; an address which is always consistent with its intentions.
Chantal Grandé, Artistic Advisor 2008
Photographs by Aurore Valade
Fondation HSBC pour la photographie
28,5 x 1,5 x 22,5 cm