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Arles 2012: Sylvia Ballhause


In each of her works, Sylvia Ballhause studies both the aspects of photographic images and the conditions of their production. Most of the time, this research brings about the fortuitous or fervently desired discovery of a mysterious image or of an exceptional photographic apparatus. In her current works, she probes, in different ways, the boundaries of photographic art. To do so, she uses known or unknown historical materials, as well as experimental processes or cameras. Hence, for example, with Triptyque Daguerre de Munich (Daguerre Triptych of Munich), she not only questions the photographs’ ephemeral nature, but also the relationship between reproduction and original, fact and artefact, medium and image. This leads her to also take an interest in the famous concept of the “aura”, introduced by Walter Benjamin. With a special camera, supposedly capable of capturing this invisible aura, she visualises the impossibility of a concrete representation of the concept, as well as photography’s desire to make the invisible visible.

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