The 21st edition of the HSBC Photography Prize was held in the HSBC Bank headquarters, Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris. The names of the two award winners were announced last night by Christine Raoult, General Delegate of the Award, and Diane Dufour, this year’s artistic advisor. The recipients of the 2016 prize are the young Polish photographer Marta Zgierska and the Danish photographer Christian Vium. Zgierska’s Post is a personal work centered on a grave injury sustained by the artist three years ago. Vium, in turn, charts the city of Nouakchott in Mauritania in his series The Nomadic City.
Exceptionally, Chris Clark, President of the HSBC Photography Prize, decided this year to award a special “Coup de Coeur” Prize to Patrick Willocq for his series Forever Walé (Je suis Walé Respecte Moi — Part 2).
With each edition of the prize, an artistic advisor is nominated to oversee the selection of nominees and to coordinate throughout the year traveling exhibitions and the publication by Actes Sud of a monograph of the award-winning work. Diane Dufour has replaced François Cheval, and the first exhibition is slated to be held in Paris in May.
« I really liked discovering and choosing the works of the 11 nominees for the HSBC Prize this year. Every time It seemed to me like breaking and entering this “colossal novel (writ large and small)” in which we live, as Novalis put it. We know that the photographic act and the work that it implies, starts from fragments of reality on an unstable foundation: the bandwidth of our lives. Converting this instability into a linear score and delivering a collective or individual account carved in the ever-changing world, this is the objective that confronts the photographer of reality.
At once a surveyor, geographer and artist, Christian Vium gives us the “colossal novel” of Nouakchott in a maze of images collected in the local archives or family albums and views taken from the outskirts of the town, at the intersection of the sedentary and nomadic worlds, frozen in a glaring light. A dazzling effect that resonates like the stopping of time, setting a limit between the moment where the contemporary period stops, and that where history begins. As for the objects and people photographed, most often they appear to be separate, as if the isolation allows their appearance and connects them to everything. Christian Vium pays attention to the most intimate details, and to the most distant resonances between the images, driven by the idea that everything is a sign.
A rock suspended by a rope, a pale coat splattered with blood, the bodywork of a crushed car, a female hand with the lifeline traced in blood, each of Marta Zgierska’s photograph presents a part of her painful story in a metaphorical way. A hand-written letter that forms the linchpin of her story is also photographed: in seizing on the words of a former teacher describing her at the age of seven, very well brought up and loved by all, the young woman lets us know in no uncertain terms the persistent gap she feels today in facing the world: a vulnerability that doesn’t cease to deepen in the absolute clarity of her images. »
The 2016 nominees are : Johanna Benaïnous (A Couple Of Them); Adrien Boyer, Jean-François Devillers (Tchernobyl), Alejandro Erbetta (Reprises), Young-June Kim, Yann Laubscher (L’appel), Julien Lombardi (L’inachevé), Olivier Nord (Picto Chimeras), Christian Vium (The Nomadic City), Patrick Willocq (Je Suis Walé Respecte Moi, 2ème Partie) and Marta Zgierska (Post)